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Scam Alert: Fake Malaysian Airline News Used as Click Bait

The world is eager for news about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. So eager, in fact, that scammers are taking advantage of our curiosity. Don't fall for click bait teasers promoting exclusive footage of found passengers. It sounds like a sick April Fool's joke, but it's a real scam.

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," it teases. 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.

Like all scams, this has many variations. Another common version 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 to limited 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:  

BBB advises the following steps to protect yourself from scam links 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, hover 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.

For more information about scams, check out bbb.org/boston.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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