Identity Theft

Warning: Malaysia Airlines Scam Hits Facebook

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Scammers are preying on your curiosity surrounding Malaysia Airlines MH370, the flight that mysteriously disappeared March 8. Viral Facebook posts with fake videos of the “found” plane, many of which claim the flight’s passengers have been saved and are alive, are potentially infected with malware. The posts look like legitimate videos and use attention-grabbing phrases like “shocking video” to reel viewers in.

The plane is still missing, and these scams are an example of the sad reality that many fraudsters live to capitalize on tragedy.

The links lead to imitation news sites where visitors are asked to share the videos to Facebook before viewing them, and scam surveys appear if the visitors follow the links, according to Chris Boyd, a malware intelligence analyst for Malwarebytes. He explained the scam to Wired.co.uk:

“Anything involving a potential disaster is big money for the scammers, as there’s a split between clickers with a penchant for salacious content and those who simply want to know if a relative is OK, or if there’s any more news on a breaking disaster,” Boyd said.

Users who fill out the surveys share personal information that the scammers will sell to third-party marketers, so these tactics can be quite profitable.

“There have also been cases of survey networks serving up malware files, so these scams are never quite as straightforward as they seem,” Boyd told the website.

People crave new information in the wake of a disaster or global event, like this one, but the Internet is a bad place to let your guard down: If you’re not thinking about what you’re clicking on or sharing, you may be inviting malware onto your computer, which could compromise any sensitive information you store on it. That can lead to identity theft, which can be time consuming and costly to recover from.

If you’re worried about your identity becoming compromised through malware or another scam, you may want to monitor your credit. You can check your credit scores for free every month using the Credit Report Card. Any unexpected change in your scores could signal identity theft, and you should pull free copies of your credit reports to confirm.

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