Many fans saddened by the recent death of comedian and actor Robin Williams turned to the Internet for information. This curiosity, however, has turned into an opportunity for online scammers.
Internet users who've attempted to watch the dramatically titled "Robin Williams Goodbye Video," purporting to have been filmed by the actor before his death, have instead found themselves victims of an online scam, reports Wichita, Kansas' KAKE-TV.
Scam Targets Your Personal Data, Facebook Profile
Despite what your Facebook news feed may say, it turns out there is no "Robin Williams Goodbye Video." According to KAKE, links to the video instead direct users to surveys which mine for personal data, or instruct users to download a video player, which is actually a virus or another form of malware.
Clicking on links to the video on Facebook may also compromise your Facebook profile by unwittingly granting scammers access to your account, further propagating the scam.
How to Avoid 'Clickbait' Scams
Consumers who have become proficient at avoiding other forms of online scams such as phishing e-mails and fake job postings may not yet be familiar with this latest form of online scam, which the Better Business Bureau refers to as a clickbait scam.
According the BBB, these scams target users by taking advantage of major news stories with sensational headlines or claims. Clickbait links can be used to spread malware, or even simply to accumulate massive amounts of Facebook likes, which can translate into real-world dollars when the scammer then sells that account -- probably to another scammer.
The BBB advises Internet users to protect themselves by:
- Not clicking on links that advertise "shocking" or "exclusive" footage that seems too good to be true;
- "Hovering" over links with your mouse to see where they really lead; and
- Not trusting links posted by your friends on social media, as their accounts may be compromised by a scammer.
The BBB recommends that Facebook users who see a clickbait scam to report the offending post via Facebook's spam report system.
- Beware: Potential online scam uses Robin Williams’ death to get victims (Salt Lake City's KSTU-TV)
- 15 Online Behaviors That Make You Vulnerable to Scams (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Facebook 'Sister' Scam: Woman Lost $2,000 After Fake Chat (FindLaw's Common Law)
- Robin Williams Set Up a Trust for His Kids. Should You? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)