Scam of the day – August 27, 2015 – Virginia news shooting scams

Yesterday’s news was filled with coverage of the tragic killing of Virginia WDBJ news reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward by Vester Flanagan, also known professionally as Bryce Williams, a deranged and disgruntled former co-worker.  During the course of the killings Flanagan actually took videos of the murders as he committed them and posted them to his Facebook and Twitter accounts shortly after the killings while he was on the run from law enforcement.  Some legitimate news sites are presenting edited still photos from the videos while others are providing the actual footage.    The videos themselves were taken down shortly after being posted.  However, there will be people out of morbid curiosity looking on the Internet for those grisly videos and scammers are only too willing to take advantage of their curiosity.  You can expect that there will be websites, text messages and emails purporting to provide links to the videos and you also can expect those websites, text messages and emails to be contaminated with malware that will enable the scammer to steal the personal information from the computers, smartphones and other electronic devices of the morbidly curious and use that information to make them victims of identity theft.

TIPS

Never click on links in emails or text messages unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate.  The risk of downloading malware is just too high.  In addition, there are some types of malware that can steal your information when you merely go to an infected website so whenever seeking videos or photos of controversial subjects, you should stay with legitimate news websites.  Merely because a website may turn up high in a Google or other search engine search does not mean that the website is legitimate.  It only means that the makers of the website know how to manipulate the logarithms used by Google to receive a high ranking.