BBB: Avoid celebrity nude photo 'click bait' scams

By Scott Johnson - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning about scammers who might try to take advantage of people by capitalizing on the recent iCloud hack of nude photos of celebrities that were then posted online.

It's called "click baiting," and in this case, it uses the allure of nude photos of celebrities as the bait. So far, no scams have been reported, but the BBB said they will be.

The BBB wants consumers to know that if they see an ad on their computer saying, "Just click to see some of the hacked celebrity nude photos," they might never see the photos if they click the link and could get a virus instead.

"You click on it, and it will (do) one of two things: It'll download a malware into your system that starts going after personal information, or it will lead you through a series of questions to get to those photos that cause you to put personal information in there," said Tom Stephens with the BBB.

Stephens said users could very well lose money -- maybe even a lot of it -- if the hacker gets the right information out of their computer.

"The whole idea is identity theft," Stephens said. "To get account numbers, driver's license numbers. To get Social Security numbers. To get account information, so they can build new accounts or empty out your bank account if they get lucky enough to find your account number on that computer."

Most people News4Jax spoke to said they wouldn't want to click on a bait ad like the celebrity nude photos one. But they said they know people who would.

"It's a scary thing," said Sara Clark. "You click, get a virus and don't know what happened."

This isn't the first time this type of scam has been out there. It happened with ads offering pictures of Osama bin Laden after he was killed, pictures of the newborn Prince George of England and most recently, the last words of Robin Williams.

They were all scams.

Tips to Protect Yourself from "Click Bait" Scams:

BBB urges consumers to take steps to protect yourself from scams shared through email and social media:

  • Don't take the bait. Stay away from promotions of "exclusive," "shocking" or "sensational" video or photos.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Delete unsolicited emails or social media messages that raise red flags.
  • Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don't click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.
  • Don't trust your "friends" online. It might not actually be your friends who are "liking" or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked and scammers could be using another tactic called "clickjacking." Clickjacking is a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking on social media links that you would not usually click on.
  • Report scam posts on Facebook by following these instructions.
  • Report malware or spam on Twitter by following these instructions.

For More Information:
To find out more about scams or to report one, check out BBB Scam Stopper.

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