In the days following the death of Osama bin Laden, Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to watch out for a slew of cyber-scams that have popped up.
According to Kaspersky Labs, an Internet security firm, malicious websites and links have been proliferating on Google Images searches, Facebook and other social media sites.
Facebook: A fake video claiming to show the death of bin Laden prompts users to input a malicious URL into their browsers, which could infect computers with viruses. Kaspersky also reports that other Facebook scams lure victims to malicious Facebook pages with promises of free airplane tickets or other “free” offers to “œcelebrate Osama’s death.”
Phishing: Scams similar to the Nigerian letter scam are circling around bin Laden’s death. Although each letter contains a slightly different appeal, BBB is reporting the latest letter claims a “soldier” is asking for assistance transferring millions to a trustworthy U.S. citizen. Usually, victims are asked to provide their bank account numbers and their bank’s name, address, phone and fax numbers. Using the provided information, con artists can plunder bank accounts. In other examples, cons try to get money directly by requesting exorbitant payments to cover transfer fees, travel, taxes, or necessary bribes before the transaction can occur. Participants do not receive the promised funds, and losses from illegal foreign business deals are nearly impossible to recover.
BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington offers scam avoidance tips:
Think before clicking. Be mindful of links claiming details not available from news sources. In the case of bin Laden, no photos or videos related to his death have been released. Be skeptical of links saying otherwise.
Don’t fall for a not-so-free offer. Often, all it takes for a virus to infect a computer is clicking one bad link.
Spread the word. Young people are computer savvy, but may not be scam savvy. Discuss online schemes with the family.
Know the red flags. Emails or websites with poor grammar or misspelled words are red flags of a scam. Never wire money to an unknown party.
Consumers can find more scam prevention information at bbb.org.
About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington: Better Business Bureau (BBB) is a neutral not-for-profit organization with the mission to advance marketplace trust. BBB is supported by BBB Accredited Businesses and provides ethical business standards, BBB Reliability Reports, Charity Review Reports, complaint handling, marketplace events and tips. For more information, contact BBB or visit www.bbb.org.