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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Northern Colorado and Wyoming
Scammers Use Stolen Celebrity Photos as Click Bait
BBB warns that scammers may be taking advantage of the recent leak of nude celebrity photos to trick people into clicking on links to fraudulent websites as a means to spread malware that can lead to identity theft.
September 03, 2014

Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming warns that scammers may be taking advantage of the recent leak of nude celebrity photos to trick people into clicking on links to fraudulent websites as a means to spread malware that can lead to identity theft.

The celebrity photo leak, which occurred on Sunday, claimed to offer hundreds of compromising photos of female celebrities, including Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence, Sports Illustrated model Kate Upton, pop singer Rihanna and others. News reports indicate the leak may have been the result of hacking into Apple iCloud or other “cloud” photo storage. The FBI is investigating.

As a result, 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,” says Shelley Polansky, BBB vice president of communications. “Some sites may ask for personal information that can lead to identity theft or be used for additional spamming.”

BBB urges consumers to take steps to protect yourself from scams shared through email and social media:

Don't take the bait. Stay away from promotions of "exclusive," "shocking" or "sensational" video or photos.

When in doubt, throw it out. Delete unsolicited emails or social media messages that raise red flags.

Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, 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” online. It might not actually be your friends who are "liking" or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked and scammers could be using another tactic called “clickjacking” to trick you into clicking on social media links that you would not usually visit.

Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit bbb.org.