Shared News Article: How The Scam Works
Most of the online articles feature a 'Email This' or 'Share This' button represented by an envelope icon. If you like the content, you can share the post not only on social media but also via email – with someone who might be interested.
The majority of these buttons open directly your email window, showing the article link. You can send the content to your friend as it is, or you can change it – even by adding an attachment.
Below there is a screenshot of a legitimate email window when sharing an article from New York Times.
When people get an email featuring real links from publications like NY Times or People Magazine they are more inclined to give consideration to the article and the call-to-action (which is really what the crooks want). Interesting, even articles from the official FBI News page open an editable email window.
Criminals send a bunch of genuine articles from publications covering different newsbreaking stories that happen that day, but attached a zip.file to the email. Then they change the content of the email adding phrases such as: "What you didn't see on TV" or "What the [subject of the article] didn't want you to see from [the event]". The original link is still there to give validation, but the call-to-action is to open the attachment in order to see the 'secret video'.
Once the victims do that, they are prompted to install or 'upgrade the Flash version' on their device. The zip. file contains a downloadable file, which installs malware on their computer. Beware!
Shared News Article Scam: How To Avoid
If the email contains files to be downloaded (zip, Word, PDFs) – ignore it. Delete the message and go ahead with your day. It is a typical scam that occurs every time a major event happens in the world.
Go on any major news site to see footage of the breaking stories.
Shared News Article Fraud: How To Report
Make your family and friends aware of the Shared News Article scam by sharing it on social media. You can also officially report the questionable email addresses to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
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