Populating many Facebook feeds this week have been scam posts taking advantage of Robin Williams’ tragic suicide.
The posts which are shared unknowingly by your Facebook friends claim to include a “last phone call” video and are designed to sell social media user’s information.
Clicking on the post takes you to a website which asks you first to share the post on your own Facebook wall and then take a short survey.
IT security company ESET said scammers earn money for every person they trick into completing the survey.
“You would have to be pretty ghoulish to proceed any further, but the truth is that the internet has deadened our sensitivities and made many of us all too willing to watch unpleasant things on our computer screens,” ESET security analyst Graham Cluley said.
“By tricking thousands of people into taking a survey, in the misbelief that they will watch the final moments of a comedy legend whose life ended tragically, the scammers aim to make affiliate cash.
“Because every survey that is taken earns them some cents – and the more people they can drive towards the survey (even if they use the bait of a celebrity death video), the more money will end up in their pockets. In other cases, scammers have used such tricks to install malware or sign users up for expensive premium rate mobile phone services.”
The Australian government’s Stay Safe Online initiative also sent out an alert warning of the threat.
“This is one of many scams targeting disasters and tragedies as scammers prey on events of global concern. The scams are easily interchanged to suit new events,” it said.
The advice is not to share or like anything on Facebook unless you are confident it is safe.
“You should be suspicious of any post that requires you to blindly share posts or provide personal information,” Stay Safe Online said in its warning.
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