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Scam artists stay on top of the news and regularly seek to exploit “the top stories of the day.” Today, BBB is warning consumers to watch out for a slew of cyber scams that have popped up in the past few days after Osama Bin Laden’s death.
According to Kaspersky Labs, an Internet security firm, malicious Web sites and links have been proliferating on Google Images search, Facebook, and other social media sites.
On Facebook, a fake video purporting to show the death of Bin Laden prompts users to input a malicious URL into their browsers, which will infect their computer with a virus.
Another Facebook scam lures victims to malicious Facebook Pages with promises of free airplane tickets, and other “free” offers to “celebrate Osama’s death.”
Consumers should also be wary of links to Osama related Web sites that they find on Twitter, or any link with a URL that leads to an unfamiliar webpage. These links often lead consumers to sites with viruses, or forms that encourage consumers to enter personal information.
Consumers should also beware of phishing emails that claim to be from “insiders”, such as Pakistani citizens or U.S. military troops that request their help in smuggling Bin Laden’s fortune out of the country. These emails are simply an updated version of the old “Nigerian prince” scam letters.
One of the letters appears to be from General Lloyd J. Austin, III, who is the current commander of American Troops serving in Iraq. Needless to say, the message wasn’t sent by the “real” General Lloyd J. Austin, III. An example of one of these letters is below:
From: "Lloyd Austin" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 2 May 2011 23:42:16 -0000
To: (removed for privacy reasons)
Subject: Re: Please, Get Back To Me ASAP!
How are you my friend? Great i guess especially on the death of Osama Bin Laden. I know this message will definitely come to you as a huge surprise, but please kindly take your time to go through it carefully as the decision you make will probably go a long way to determine my future, your future and continued relationship
First, let me introduce myself. I am General Lloyd James Austin III am assigned to 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, Western Anbar Province in Iraq. But i and some troops were assigned to Pakistan on a raid of Osama Bin Laden hide out. We succeeded on the mission and he is dead at the moment and buried in the sea. Right now, i have a situation at hand, i am desperately in need of assistance and i have summoned up courage to contact you.
I am seeking your assistance to evacuate the sum of $10 Million (Ten Million only) to the States or any safe country, as far as i can be assured that it will be safe in your care until i complete my investigation in Pakistan and service in Iraq. This is no stolen money and there are no dangers involved.
SOURCE OF MONEY:
Some money in various currencies was discovered and concealed in barrels with piles of weapons and ammunition at a location near Osama Bin Laden's house during a the raid and it was agreed by all party present that that particular moment that the money should be shared among us. This might appear as an illegal thing to do but i tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risks we have taken with our lives in this hellhole.
The above figure was given to me as my share and to conceal this kind of money became a problem for me, so with the help of a German contact working with the UN here (his office enjoys some immunity) I was able to get the package out of Pakistan immediately to a safe location entirely out of trouble spot. He does not know the real contents of the package as he believes that it belongs to an American who died in an air raid, before giving up trusted me to hand over the package to his close relative. i have now found a secured way of getting the package out of it's current location for you to pick up.
I do not know for how long i will remain here, as i have been lucky to survive two suicide bomb attacks by Pure Divine intervention. This and other reasons put into consideration have prompted me to reach out for help. If it might be of interest to you then Endeavor to contact me and we would work out the necessary formalities but i pray that you are discreet about this mutually benefiting relationship.
Thank you and God bless you.
With great expectation and regards,
General Lloyd James Austin III
United States Marine Corps
Here are tips from the BBB to avoid these Osama Bin Laden scams:
· Be mindful about clicking on links that purport to show information that’s not widely available from respected news sources. In the case of Bin Laden, no photos or videos related to his death have been released. Be extremely skeptical of links that say otherwise.
· Be wary of free offers “celebrating” any sort of occasion, especially if the offer comes from a company or Web site you haven’t heard of before. Often times all it takes for a scammer to infect your computer with a virus is clicking on one bad link.
· Don't fill out surveys looking for personal info that promise something free celebrating Osama bin Laden's death.
For more information on how consumers can protect themselves against scams, or to find reputable businesses they can visit www.bbb.org or call