Scam of the day – January 2, 2015 – AirAsia Facebook scam

Although legitimate media is reporting pieces of the wreckage as well as bodies from missing AirAsia Flight 8501 have been found, many people are falling for a Facebook scam where a link appears on their Facebook pages that promises to provide information and video from CNN indicating that the AirAsia plane had been found intact in the Philippines.  The piece appearing on Facebook pages looks like a legitimate CNN story and carries the logo of CNN, however, the AirAsia plane shown is not the missing plane, but rather a photograph of another AirAsia flight that skidded off of the runway in Malaysia in 2011.  Clicking on the video will not bring up the video.  Instead you are redirected to a phony CNN website that informs you that you need to “like” and “share” the video before you can view it.  Once you have done both of these actions, you are redirected again to another website that requires you to take a survey before you can view the video.  You are told that by taking the survey, you are eligible to win valuable prizes.  Among the information requested in the survey is your cell phone number and other personal information.  Once you take the survey, you are hooked because unwittingly what you are actually doing is signing up for “cramming” charges on your cell phone for various text message services.  If you are unfamiliar with “cramming,” check out the archives of Scamicide and put in the word “cramming.”

TIPS

Curiosity killed the cat and it can also add additional unwanted costs to your cell phone bill.  Scammers constantly take advantage of our curiosity about current news events to lure people into clicking on links that can result in your signing up for services you don’t want or need or even result in your downloading keystroke logging malware that can result in your information being stolen and you becoming a victim of identity theft.

A red flag in this particular scam is the requirement that you “like” and “share” the video before you have even seen it.  This is something you should never do.  In addition, you can never be sure that an apparent legitimate media link on your Facebook page is indeed legitimate or not so you should never click on such links for your news.  Instead, go directly to the websites of legitimate news outlets that you trust.

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