Ice Bucket Challenge Scam
How the scam works:
The Ice Bucket Challenge campaign became viral due to its genius approach: get people to do something they never did before, get them to nominate somebody to do the same thing, as well as support a great cause. The donations to the ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) cause passed the $30 million mark.
However, scammers found a way to use the viral aspect of the campaign in order to victimize people all over social media.The Ice Bucket Challenge comes (so far) in two variations:
Scenario 1. Scammers create fake ALS pages and campaigns, and promise tempting awards for the funniest Ice Bucket Challenge videos. This way even more people are inclined to do the ice shower. As the challenge requires, people should also donate, so when victims nominate their friends and offer a link, they just share phony fundraising links.
Alternatively, scammers set up phone lines and send mass text messages hastagging “ALS” and “Ice Bucket Challenge”. When people are invited to donate, they send money to these fake accounts become instant victims.
Scenario 2. As we all like to watch our friends embarrassing themselves and pouring ice water all over their bodies, some of the clips are becoming popular by being hilarious, different, or featuring celebrities. One of the easiest ways for scammers to get what they want is to create fake videos claiming to feature well-known personalities embarrassing doing the ice bucket dump. The biggest scam promises to show you the president of the United States, Barack Obama.
“Barack Obama Accepts The ALS Challenge”, or “Watch Obama Pouring The Ice Over Himself” might be some of the titles you might see on your Facebook news feed. Just like in many other cases prior to this, you might be fooled into believing it is genuine. Remember “Robin Williams Says Goodbye With His iPhone” scam? Or “Paul Walker's Real Footage From His Accident” scam? One million shares might make it look even more realistic. However, if you click on the link, the opened page will ask you to “Share” first. That's how it got to a million shares.
The scam draws in internet users to either take a phony survey or to download malicious software on their computers. Once the page is open, curious readers are required to download a specific video player that will show the President Obama doing the Ice Bucket Challenge. Needless to say, the software contains a virus and installs a keylogger on the machine. The virus takes over your computer and reads your typing habits, giving away the passwords and personal information you use to log into various websites.
On the other hand, the survey responses earn for the scammers affiliate revenue, by you clicking on a bunch of product links.
How to avoid:
Be very careful where you donate. Visit the official ALS website in your area/country, as the links migh differ.
On the other hand, Barack Obama did not do the Ice Bucket Challenge, but donated money to ALS. However, Obama might not be the only celebrity whose name is used by the scammers. It could be anybody, so be careful. You could also look at the comments to see if they look genuine first.
Make your friends and family aware of this scam by sharing it, using the buttons provided.
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