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Breaking news scams (via Facebook)

Breaking news scams (via Facebook)

Online scam spreading virus

A face book page for Bin Laden with the word “Scam” written across it in red.While the passing of celebrities or other breaking news stories prompt most of us to turn on the TV, search the internet and text or call friends, scammers swing into action to take advantage of our thirst for information.

We need to tread very carefully at times like this otherwise it could be a case of curiosity killed the computer!

The deaths of singer Amy Winehouse and Apple founder Steve Jobs as well as the Norway terror attacks are three examples of recent events jumped on by internet scammers, looking to either infect our computers with viruses or cash in on our personal information.

In the cases of Amy Winehouse and the Norway attacks, dodgy links claiming to contain video footage were sent out via Facebook. It’s similar to a Facebook scam which circulated when Osama Bin Laden was killed; with a link claiming to take you to a picture of the terrorist’s dead body.

You may be prompted to complete an online survey before finding out that there is no related footage or picture. The increased internet traffic to an infected website may also pay the scammers commission, as well as providing your secure personal details to an unknown third party.

Or you could simply end up infecting your computer with malware (malicious software) which can compromise your account.

Of course there are about 10 million Facebook users in Australia alone putting a significant amount of people at risk.

So next time a big event hits the headlines, watch out for links posted on social networking sites relating to the story and think twice before clicking!

Here’s some general advice:

  • Ensure your computer is protected against the latest threats by continually updating your virus protection software and installing a firewall against unwanted intrusions.

  • Check your Facebook security settings and make sure any apps or websites interacting with your profile were authorised by you. Remove any that don’t look familiar.

  • Have a close look at your News Feed and if there are status updates or links posted that you don’t remember adding, remove them to make sure your Facebook friends aren’t scammed.
    Keep up to date on scams by subscribing to the free WA ScamNet Alert

Update 10 August 2012 Facebook has a new email adress.

Facebook has a new email adress that people can use to report Facebook scams

Email: phish@fb.com