Scam Alert -- Don't Click! Malaysian Airlines Teasers are Fakes

Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning about social media links, texts and emails promoting exclusive video footage of the plane’s passengers.
April 07, 2014

Flight 370 InvestigationThe world is eager for news about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, so eager, that scammers are taking advantage of our curiosity.

Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning about social media links, texts and emails promoting exclusive video footage of the plane’s passengers.  In fact, it is an invitation to getting fooled into downloading harmful malware onto your computer.

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."   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 that can access your contacts and follow you around the internet and collect your log ins and passwords.

Another common variation 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 limited to 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:  

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

  • Don't take the bait -  Stay away from promotions of "exclusive," "shocking" or "sensational" footage.  
  • Hover over a link to see its true destination - Before you click, put 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 these instructions.

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

Founded in 1928, BBB Serving Connecticut is an unbiased, non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior, and is one of 112 local, independent BBBs across North America.

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