Faux Facebook Memorial Walls to MH17 Victims are Gateways to Disreputable Websites
People mourning the tragic loss of the innocent victims of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 are advised to exercise caution when visiting sites designed to honor the victims or accept donations to support their loved ones. It has been confirmed that unscrupulous people are setting up fake Facebook walls with links supposedly to sites that offer more information on the victims. The links are nothing more than gateway URLs to gambling, pornography, dating, or other forms of seedy untrustworthy websites. One of the Facebook walls is supposedly dedicated to three Australian children by the names of Evie, Otis, and Mo Maslin who were aboard the flight. Ms. Lilian Derden, also a victim of the flight, had a Facebook page dedicated to her by unknown characters.
Last week, senior Ukraine official Anton Gerashchenko warned of MH17 scavenging and scamming in a Facebook post, saying to followers:
“Just now I have received information that terrorists – death-hunters were collecting not only cash money and jewelry of the crashed [Boeing] died passengers but also the credit cards of the victims… Currently they might as well try to use them in Ukraine or pass them on to Russia… My humble request to the relatives of the victims to freeze their credit cards, so that they won’t loose their assets to terrorists!”
Facebook has taken down some of the pages at times within hours of being launched. The families of the victims have been notified of the scams which is tragic given they have so much more to be concerned with than bunko artists lying in wait to deceive people. A friend of Ms. Derden confirmed that her account was deleted so as to avoid adding to the confusion. She stated that she did not want people making donations that would end up going to unknown people.
As per Alastair MacGibbon, University of Canberra Internet Safety director, this type of scam has a name and it is called a click-fraud scheme. Some may call this a sign of the times, but the internet age has given broad scope to deceptive practices such that click-fraud schemes are now common place following tragic events. MacGibbon says that the crooks behind these sites earn referral income and advertising revenue making such sites very profitable. He stated that the people behind these sites have become very skilled at finding ways to profit from human tragedy.
Be Wary, MH17 Facebook Scams Prey On Users