Beware of Online Scammers following Death of Osama bin Laden

  
     
May 05, 2011

Better Business Bureau
Serving Metropolitan New York

30 East 33rd Street, 12th Floor
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 212-533-7504 | Fax: 212-477-4912 | Email:inquiry@newyork.bbb.org
Web Site: www.newyork.bbb.org


Contact: Samantha Drake, 212-358-2826 | sdrake@newyork.bbb.org

Beware of Online Scammers following Death of Osama bin Laden

New York, NY – May 5, 2011- In the aftermath of the death of Osama Bin Laden this past weekend, Better Business Bureau of New York is warning consumers to watch out for a slew of cyber-scams that have popped up in the past few days.

According to the FBI, malicious Web sites and links have been proliferating via e-mail. Consumers should also be wary of links on Google Images search, Facebook, and other social media sites.

On Facebook, a fake video purporting to show the death of Bin Laden prompts users to input a malicious URL into their browsers, which will infect their computer with a virus. Other Facebook scams lure victims to malicious Facebook pages with promises of free airplane tickets, and other “free” offers regarding “celebrate Osama’s death.”

Consumers should also be very wary of links to Osama related Web sites that they find on Twitter, or any link with a URL that leads to an unfamiliar webpage. Often these links will lead consumers to Web sites with viruses, or forms that encourage consumers to enter personal information, which can be used to steal their identity, or for phishing scams.

“Scammers are always looking for new hooks,” says Claire Rosenzweig, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan New York. “Consumers should stop and think before clicking an unknown link, no matter how intriguing and topical.”

BBB Tips:

· Be mindful about clicking on links that purport to show information that’s not widely available from respected news sources. In the case of Bin Laden, no photos or videos related to his death have been released. Be extremely skeptical of links that say otherwise.

· Before clicking on a link, hover the cursor over it to see where it will direct you. If the URL seems shady, do not click it!

· Never enter credit card or other personal information on a website that is not trusted.

· Be wary of free offers “celebrating” any sort of occasion, especially if the offer comes from a company or Web site you haven’t heard of before. Often times all it takes for a scammer to infect your computer with a virus is clicking on one bad link.

· If you’re unsure if an offer or a website is legitimate, look on the BBB website or contact us at 212-533-7500. Our consumer phone lines are open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. eastern time. For more information on how consumers can protect themselves against scams, or to find reputable businesses, visit our website at www.newyork.bbb.org.

FBI press release: http://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/malicious-software-features-usama-bin-laden-links-to-ensnare-unsuspecting-computer-users

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About BBB Serving Metropolitan New York

The BBB Serving Metropolitan New York, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson Region is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Reliability Reports™ and charity BBB Wise Giving Reports™, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust.

To further promote trust, the BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is difference in viewpoints. The first BBB was founded in 1912 by advertising executives. The BBB of Metropolitan New York was founded in 1922 by the NY Stock Exchange. Today, 124 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada, evaluating and monitoring more than four million local and national businesses and charities. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.