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News

Scam Alert: Fake Malaysian Airline News Used as Click Bait
By Better Business Bureau
Apr 6, 2014 - 12:10:31 AM

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Marlborough, MA - The world is eager for news about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. So eager, in fact, that scammers are taking advantage of our curiosity. Don't fall for click bait teasers promoting exclusive footage of found passengers. It sounds like a sick April Fool's joke, but it's a real scam.

How the Scam Works:

You are on Facebook, and a post catches your attention. "Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane Found in Bermuda Triangle. Passengers alive," it teases. Another popular version promises: "[NEWS FLASH] Missing Plane Has Been Found!"

You click the link, thinking it leads to a news site. Instead, you are taken to an unfamiliar, third party website. A pop up may appear prompting you to "update your video player." But when you click "OK," you aren't getting a new software version. You are really downloading malware.

Like all scams, this has many variations. Another common version asks you to take a survey before viewing the video. In the worst case, sharing your information can open you up to identity theft. Even more likely, your information will end up getting sold to spammers.

This scam is also not to limited Facebook. Watch out for similar links posted on Twitter, through other social media or sent by email.

Tips to Protect Yourself From "Click Bait" Scams:

BBB advises the following steps to protect yourself from scam links shared through email and social media:

Don't take the bait. Stay away from promotions of "exclusive," "shocking" or "sensational" footage. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.

Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, hover your mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don't click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.

Don't trust your friends' taste online. It might not actually be them "liking" or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked. But it may also be clickjacking, a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking something that you wouldn't otherwise (especially the Facebook "Like" button).

On Facebook, report scam posts and other suspicious activity by following the instructions at https://www.facebook.com/help/205730929485170?sr=1&sid=0zvtsKFYGfJai8cow.

On Twitter, if another user is sending you links to malware or other spam, report it to Twitter by following these instructions.

For more information about scams, check out bbb.org/boston.

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2013, consumers turned to BBB 131 million times for Business Reviews on more than 6.5 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.

Paula Fleming is VP of Communications & Marketing for Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT. Find Paula on Google+ or follow on twitter @pflemBBB

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