Better Business Bureau is warning that it expects to see scammers taking advantage of the recent leak of nude celebrity photos to trick consumers into clicking on links to fraudulent websites. Scammers tend to take advantage of sensational news and public curiosity to spread malware that can lead to identity theft.
Although it’s too soon to know if anyone has been victimized by such a scam, BBB has seen similar tactics in the past with emails and social media messages claiming to show photos of the death of Osama bin Laden, newborn Prince George of Britain and, most recently, Robin Williams’ last words.
The celebrity photo leak, which occurred on Sunday, claimed to offer hundreds of nude photos of popular female celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, reality-show star Kim Kardashian, pop singer Rihanna, and others. Some celebrities confirmed the authenticity of the photos while others claimed they were fake. Preliminary news reports say the leak may have been the result of hacking into Apple iCloud or other “cloud” photo storage. The FBI is investigating.
BBB expects to see “click baiting” scams claiming to link to the photos. Clicking on these links or downloading photos can instead install malware on your computer or smartphone. Some sites may ask for personal information that can lead to identity theft or be used for additional spamming.
Scammers also post sensational or emotional content as a way of collecting "likes" on a Facebook account. After enough "likes" and comments, they can turn around and sell the account for a profit.
Tips to Protect Yourself from "Click Bait" Scams:
BBB urges consumers to take steps to protect yourself from scams shared through email and social media:
For More Information:
To find out more about scams or to report one, check out BBB Scam Stopper.
BBB 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. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles and BBB Wise Giving Reports®, and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, BBB also offers complaint and dispute resolution support for consumers and businesses when there is a difference in viewpoints. For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. Better Business Bureau Serving West Florida is one of many local, independent BBBs across North America that provide business reviews on companies within its 11 county service area. These counties include: Hernando, Pasco, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Desoto, Charlotte, Lee & Collier.