BBB Warning: "Click Bait" Scams Exploit Robin Williams' Death

August 15, 2014

Baton Rouge, LA, August 14, 2014....Whenever a major story dominates the news, scammers take advantage of the public's interest in online photos, stores and social media links that claim to offer sensational details. This tactic is called “click baiting." Unfortunately, the bait that is being used right now involves the death of Robin Williams. BBB warns consumers about clicking on links, downloading pictures or purchasing commemorative souvenirs, unless you are on an established website with built~in buyer protections.

Con artists exploit tragedies in these ways:

-Impersonating victims or family members on social media;
-Selling memorabilia, often promising that some or all of the proceeds will go
to charity;
-Posting teasers for sensational video footage or photos.

Any of these can lead to downloading malware on your computer or smartphone, sharing personal information that can lead to identity theft, or providing information that can be used for additional scamming.

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 profile.

Tips to Protect Yourself from “Click Bait" Scams:

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

~ Don't take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive," “shocking,” or “sensational” footage. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.

~ 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 accounts may have been hacked and scammers could be using another tactic, called “clickjacking.” Clickjacking is a technique that scammers us to trick you into clicking on social media links that you would not usually click on.

~ Report scam posts on Facebook.

~ Report malware or spam on Twitter.

To find out more about scams or to report one, check out


For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people 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 The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB of South Central Louisiana, Inc. has been serving the local community since 1950 and services the parishes of Ascension, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Iberville, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. James, Tangipahoa, West Baton Rouge & West Feliciana.