BBB: Beware of Malaysia Airlines social media scam

For the past three weeks, much of the world’s attention has been focused on what happened to Malaysia  Airlines Flight MH370, which is now presumed to have crashed somewhere into the Indian Ocean with 239 people aboard.

BBB LOGO 109-13So it should come as no surprise that the plane’s mysterious disappearance also has caught the eye of scam artists — for far more nefarious reasons.

That’s why the Better Business Bureau issued a scam alert Tuesday, warning consumers not to be tricked by deceptive posts on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites related to the plight of Flight 370.

The BBB says there are several variations of this scam. One Facebook post teases you with “Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane Found in Bermuda Triangle. Passengers alive.” Another purported “News Flash” claims, “Missing Plane Has Been Found!”

The goal, of course, is to persuade you to click on the accompanying link, which will transfer you to a third-party website. Once there, according to the BBB, you will be greeted with a pop-up ad encouraging you to update your video player. If you do, you run the risk of downloading malware onto your computer or smartphone.

The BBB says another version asks you to take a short survey before viewing the video, which could result in your personal information being sold to spammers or, even worse, lead directly to identify theft.

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The scam alert urges consumers to:

■ Refrain from clicking on unfamiliar links related to “shocking” or “sensational” video footage. If it strikes you as being difficult to believe, chances are it’s a scam.

■ Before deciding to follow a link, place your mouse directly over the link. If you don’t recognize the website’s URL, don’t go there.

■ And don’t be fooled by indications that the video was shared with you by a “friend” — his or her account may have been hacked as part of this scheme.

To read the full scam alert, click here.

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