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A link showing the nose of an airliner jutting above the waves, with the headline, ‘Malaysian Air Flight MH370 found by sailor’ has been circulating on Facebook this week, according to a report by Hoax-Slayer – but the link is another scam designed to lure victims to complete surveys.
The new ‘video’ has surfaced just as Malaysia announced it was stepping up its search for the missing airliner in the Indian Ocean, as reported by the South China Morning Post. Cybercriminals often time scams to coincide with the global news cycle – we’ve created We Live Security guide to spotting these scams.
In this latest piece of ‘breaking news’, there is no video, and the entire news story is a fake: a new spin on a scam which blighted Facebook when the airliner first went missing four months ago.
The message reads, “Malaysian Air Flight MH370 Found By Sailor Moments Ago: Mystery Solved – Sailor Awarded $5 Million on spot,” with a video underneath, showing the nose of a plane.
As with previous Facebook scams regarding the missing flight, the criminals have simply substituted an image of another plane crash – in this case, US Airways Flight 1549, which crashed in January 2009, plunging into New York’s Hudson River (without loss of life).
The link is equally false: in an echo of previous scams, users are urged to complete survey after survey, which earns the link’s creators money via affiliate marketing schemes. Some of the surveys attached to this particular scam ask for a mobile phone number – anyone who provides this information is immediately signed up for costly SMS services.
Hoax-Slayer says: “The scammers who create these fake video posts earn money via dodgy affiliate marketing schemes each and every time that a user participates in a survey. And, by tricking people into sharing the scam posts, they can greatly increase the number of potential victims.”
“Some of the ‘survey’ pages ask you to provide your mobile phone number, an act that actually subscribes you to a very expensive text messaging service. Others may ask you to provide personal information including your name, address and contact details.”
Hoax-Slayer warns against clicking on any suspicious link purporting to carry ‘breaking news’.
Read ESET experts’ tips on how to spot such posts.
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security