BBB Warns: Scammers Using Fake Airline News as Click Bait

It was just a matter of time before scammers would take advantage of our interest in news about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. This time they’re using click bait teasers promoting exclusive footage of found passengers.

Here’s how the scam works: You’re on Facebook and a post catches your attention. “Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane Found in Bermuda Triangle. Passengers alive,” it teases. Another popular version promises: “[NEWS FLASH] Missing Plane Has Been Found!”

You click the link thinking it leads to a news site. Instead, you’re taken to an unfamiliar third-party website. A popup may appear prompting you to “update your video player.” But when you click “OK,” you aren’t getting a new software version. You are really downloading malware. Another version of this scam asks you to take a survey before viewing the video.

Sharing your information can open you up to identity theft and even more likely will end up getting sold to spammers, said Shelley Polansky, vice president of communications for BBB Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming.

She noted that similar links are being posted on Twitter, through other social media or sent by email.

To prevent becoming a victim, BBB advises:

  • Don’t take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” footage. If it sounds too outlandish (Bermuda Triangle, really?) to be true, it’s probably a scam.

  • Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click a link, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.

  • On social media, report scam posts and other suspicious activity directly to the site.

Start With Trust. For more consumer tips and information, visit bbb.org.

 BBB’s mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities. BBBs across the U.S. and Canada – 112 in all – rate more than 4 million local and national businesses and charities. Our local BBB provided 880,000 instances of service in the last 12 months.
This entry was posted in BBB. Bookmark the permalink.