Scammers are taking advantage of Steve Jobs’ death, offering mourners everything from funeral tickets to free iPads, in an attempt to prey on people’s gullibility to turn a profit.
One such scam invites hapless victims to “Win 1 of 15 MacBook Pros in Memory of Steve Jobs,” while another offers “Photos of the Funeral and the Coffin.”
Yet another fake link urges visitors to “Remember Steve Jobs” by clicking “to purchase one of his inventions,” and a similar site reads, “Video footage and images will be here uploaded live from the funeral ceremony.” The link does include clips of an actual funeral, but not of Steve Jobs.
Scammers are also making the rounds on social networks like Facebook, tricking users into reposting false links that promise free iPads to those who type “RIP Steve” as a status message.
The spate of online scams is not uncommon, as public figures and celebrities are often dangled as bait before unsuspecting Internet browsers.
For example, the death of singer Amy Winehouse spawned Facebook links to “shocking footage” of her final moments that instead led people to a survey site. And Osama bin Laden’s death sparked a series of malware-laden links, promising further news of his capture, which infected users’ computers once they entered the site.
Another popular tactic involves e-mails or links falsely reporting celebrity tragedies. People who open e-mails about Lindsey Lohan’s fatal car crash, for example, may find their computers ridden with malware instead.
Virus and malware-ridden sites offering Steve Jobs memorabilia are so far non-existent, but may crop up before too long.
“It wouldn’t be a surprise, for instance, to see scams which might try to take advantage of those moved by the loss of Apple’s founder with lures like ‘Donate to Steve’s favourite charities as a tribute,'” said Graham Gluley, a Sophos spokesman.
Gluley explains the scams are likely to continue because their creators “make more money the more traffic they can direct to websites, driving more people to become customers, or take online surveys and competitions.”
Scammers will likely continue their profitable campaign as long as people keep clicking through to their fake sites.