Video and photo scams that take advantage of violence and death are easy to avoid
The internet can often be a pretty disgusting place. Within hours of the death of Amy Winehouse, a number of scams appeared on social-networking site Facebook.
The scams claimed to be videos of the singer's last moments before her death. The perverse curiosity of people is often targeted like this - see also the death of Osama Bin Laden and the recent shootings in Norway.
These scams proliferate through social media sites like Facebook and Twitter because people want to intrude on a story more than conventional news outlets will allow. There is no way a major news service would show the sort of footage and photographs that these scams claim to contain.
Of course, a scam will only work if people are willing to fall for it. Depressingly, plenty of people are eager to view these sorts of photos and videos.
These scams use words such as 'shocking' and 'graphical' - they are 'leaked' videos, often claiming to be of death and violence. Of course, they don't contain the content they purport to.
In reality, they are scams designed to get money out of those who click on them. In most cases, people are asked to complete surveys (which the scammer will profit from) or even enter their mobile phone number - this will result in them receiving premium-rate text messages.
The trick to avoiding online scams like this is pretty simple; don't go looking for videos of people dying or being murdered.
Images courtesy of the Sophos Naked Security blog.
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