The latest development is that the President of Malaysia has claimed that flight MH370’s tracking systems were deliberately disabled, and satellites have produced evidence suggesting the plane then changed course and continued flying for a further seven hours.
Although the missing airplane’s fate might still be a baffling mystery, there’s one thing that is clear. Scammers are taking advantage of the world’s interest in the developing story, and trying to make a quick buck.
A series of scams have already been seen being spread via Facebook, for instance, claiming to be links to video news reports of the plan being found, passengers discovered alive, etc.
Some of the claims are clearly preposterous – such as the ones which brazenly asks you to believe that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has been found in the Bermuda triangle.
In an attempt to trick the unwary, some of the scams claim to point to respected news organisations such as the BBC or CNN.
Malaysia Plane (MH-370) Has Been Found Near Bermuda Triangle. BBC News: Recent Video Released!
These scams were first spotted a few days ago, and the above examples appear to have largely disappeared now. Presumably, Facebook’s security team has woken up to the threat and is stamping them out when they’re spotted.
However, that doesn’t mean that the airplane scams have entirely disappeared. A quick search, for instance, has revealed that scams related to the mystery of MH370 are still spreading on Facebook… albeit in French.
[DERNIÈRES NOUVELLES] Malaisie accident d’avion au Vietnam Mer MH370 Malaysia Airlines est trouvé!
Malaisie accident d’avion au Vietnam Mer MH370 Malaysia Airlines est trouvé!
Here is another example:
Vidéo de l’avion Malaisien MH370 Trouvé dans le triangle des bermudes ! Les passagers sont vivants !
Dernière vidéo de passagers pleurer Paru
Chances are that these scams would spread just as well in other languages too, of course.
So, what happens if you are tricked into clicking on one of the links after you see one of your online friends sharing the “breaking news” online?
When I checked out the links they took me to a fake YouTube page which displayed an age verification dialog that requested I complete an online survey or visit a different website before I could watch the (alleged) video.
Of course, the real YouTube doesn’t send you off to other people’s websites in order to prove you are allowed to watch a video.
The scammers earn affiliate cash by driving web traffic to the online surveys or promoting other people’s sites in this way. And, if one of your Facebook friends has been duped into making bad decisions, chances are that they haven’t be too careful about what they’ve allowed to be posted to their Facebook newsfeed either.
Remember – if there is breaking news about Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 the best place to find it will probably be on real news websites, rather than trusting a link shared with you by a friend.
And don’t forget, cold-hearted scammers have no qualms about taking advantage of horrific news stories.
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