As soon as the news that singer Amy Winehouse was found dead in her London home hit the Internet, the usual reactions began flooding in. There were plenty of touching tributes, a handful of cruel jokes, and a wave of emotional tweets. And now there's the almost obligatory series of Facebook scams which seems to follow a well-publicized death.
Sophos reports that the first scams started popping up barely four hours after the 27-year-old singer's death was confirmed. The only comforting news is that the schemes are simple and familiar: Scammers attempt to lure individuals into clicking a link out of sheer morbid curiosity.
Just as many were tricked into compromising the security of their Facebook accounts or computers by links claiming to lead to photos or videos of Osama bin Laden's death a few months ago, folks are now being lured into helping cold-hearted and malicious scammers profit by following links offering video footage taken hours before Winehouse passed away:
As Sophos explains, these links most certainly do not actually contain videos of the deceased singer's final hours, but instead lead to online surveys from which the scammers earn a commission — as well as a pop-up message which tricks victims into exposing their friends to the scam.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Think twice before clicking a link you discover in your News Feed — is the friend who shared it really the type who would "like" a video like that? — and keep an eye out for peculiar pop-ups.
And if you get suckered into a scam like this despite being careful? It's ok, it happens to the best of us. But there are a few things you should do:
- Check the security settings on your Facebook account. Did you really authorize all the apps and websites which are interacting with your Facebook account? No? Take access away from the ones which look unfamiliar.
- Look at your News Feed. Are there things or links which you don't recall liking listed? Are there posts and status updates which you didn't write? Get rid of them before your friends see them and get scammed, too.
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Rosa Golijan writes about tech here and there. She's obsessed with Twitter and loves to be liked on Facebook. Oh, and she can be found on Google+, too.