Las Vegas Shooting: How The Scams Work
Every time a major disaster hits the world criminals come out of the woods spreading viruses, misinformation and click baits that make tens of thousands of victims everywhere. There was no exception this week, as the Las Vegas shooting on Sunday became the deadliest mass shooting in America's history. Up to date, there are 59 fatalities and more than 500 wounded.
Watch the video below to see the insane footage from the Mandalay Bay shooting (warning – graphic content):Insane Footage From Las Vegas Shooting Video
Shortly after, scammers took advantage of the world's curiosity of finding out more information about the tragedy. In the wake of the mass shooting, trolls spread hoaxes and click baits hoping to go viral briefly.
There are seven different types of scams and hoaxes (all with their variations, too) that hit the Internet within less than a day. Some have been dealt with; some are still active:
1. Las Vegas Shooting Donations Via Facebook Safety Check
Facebook offers a service called Safety Check in the wake of dangerous incidents. If you are in an area hit by a disaster, your Facebook app triggers a push notification asking to verify your status.
When you mark yourself as safe, the system automatically adds a post to your News Feed with that message. This way, anyone checking on you can see that you're fine. Facebook also creates a page where users can check in on friends in the affected area and watch breaking news.
That last feature has become a tool for scammers and criminals looking to drive traffic to their sites and services. Monday morning, the Facebook Safety Check page for the shooting in Las Vegas featured a video soliciting donations to a Bitcoin wallet (see photo above), as well photos from the AANR Midwest American Association for Nude Recreation.
Be careful, the requests for donations will inevitable continue over the next few weeks, so use discretion and common sense if you decide to contribute.
2. Las Vegas Shooting Missing Victims
Other sneaky users have allegedly reported bogus information about friends or family members disappearing amid the chaos. Twitter user "@YKBrut3r" claimed his 15-old son was missing (see pic above).
Meanwhile, another hoax spread by a fake account belonging Jack Sins showed a picture of a renowned porn star, but claiming that "my dad is missing."
3. Involvement Of Other People
The criminal, Stephen Paddock, acted as a "lone wolf," however many other people were falsely identified as having an involvement or as the actual shooter. One of these people is Geary Danley.
Google search results related to the name of someone misidentified by some "alt-right" sites as the Las Vegas shooter prominently displayed a post from the online forum 4chan – a notorious spawning ground for Internet hoaxes — which falsely named that individual as the killer.
According to Google, the post was removed from search results “within hours” of featuring the 4chan content as a “top story.”
Facebook also automatically promoted top stories with the fake news.
After admitting the error, the social media platform announced on Monday it will hire 1,000 additional reviewers to monitor ad content in light of Russian meddling through its ad system. This followed Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's May announcement that Facebook is hiring 3,000 content moderators with a focus on monitoring violent live video content.
4. Las Vegas Shooting: Hoaxes For Retweets
Many Twitter users falsely identified Samir Al-Hajeed as the gunman. However, the man holding the gun in the photo above is comedian Sam Hyde, who has been falsely accused in the aftermath of other attacks, including the UCLA and San Bernardino shootings.
It remains unclear why social media users repeatedly circulate Hyde's photo after mass shootings. Most of those who do it make it as a continuous joke, in hopes of retweets and account following.
5. Paddock And The Anti-Fascism
Another rumor about Stephen Paddock circulating on the far-right is that he had ties to “Antifa,” the umbrella term for anti-fascist activist organizations.
It appears to stem from a now-deleted post on a troll Facebook account posing as a page for the “Melbourne Antifa,” claiming that Paddock was a member. A few evidence-free tweets have gone viral while repeating this claim.
6. Linking To ISIS
Even the Israel National News had a headline on their site claiming that authorities had identified the gunman as a recent convert to Islam. Although the story has been updated to note that police have “no knowledge” of shooting suspect Stephen Paddock's religious beliefs, the meme has continued to spread.
Following the rumor, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Las Vegas shootings through the Amaq News Agency and said that Paddock had converted to Islam months ago.
7. Anti-Liberal Hate And Other Various Motives
Last but not least, Paddock is portrayed by many people as an anti-Liberal. Some of the fake pictures show an unidentified man at an anti-Donald Trump rally back in the summer. However, the person in the picture is not Paddock.
Most likely, these discussions and fake news will continue until the authorities will finalize the case and find the real reasons Paddock started the mass shooting.
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