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Malaysian Airplane Scam

How the scam works:

Scammers often post links on social media using fake images and titles related to the newest trends or news. Once open, the links are automatically posted on your wall so all your friends believe you recommend the reading. From here, there are several ways you could become a victim.

The latest one relates to the Malaysian airplane gone missing in the first half of March. You might have seen it on your Facebook newsfeed, as being posted by your friends. "The Malayisian airplane was found! You wouldn't believe where", might look the title of the article.

Just like in the other "latest news" Facebook scams, clicking the message link will take you to a page which looks exactly like Facebook, but is a fake. A fake video player is also displayed along with an “Update Required” notification. The site asks you to download a Flash Player update in order to watch the video.

malaysian scam

Clicking on the “Install” button will install a malware on your computer. This malware program will gather your information (passwords, account numbers), and email them back to the scammer. One of the most notorious one is the Koobface worm, which has earned scammers income mainly through pay-per-install malware.

On the other hand, instead of requiring you to update the Flash player, you might be asked to provide different personal information, such as your cell phone number for an imaginary promotion. You will automatically be registered for Premium Texting, which means you will receive periodical texts for which you have to pay $2/ piece until you opt out.

How to avoid:

Most importantly, when you see the preview on your Facebook newsfeed, look for the domain name on which the article is apparently posted on. It should be right under the picture. If it's not a website or name you heard of (which should be at least a decent media outlet, such as CNN, BBC, TMZ, Associated Press, Reuters, etc) - you can rest assured somebody is playing tricks in order to lure people into clicking on the link. 

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