ESET Ireland is issuing a warning about a widespread Facebook scam, this time exploiting the tragic suicide of comic actor Robin Williams.
The scam, which has spread widely on Facebook, claims to show a “goodbye” video made by Robin Williams before he committed suicide last week. However, when Facebook users click on the link they are told to share it with their online friends and complete a survey before they can watch the promised video. Each completed survey earns the scammers a small amount of money.
How the Robin Williams Facebook scam works:
The first thing you see is a post shared by one of your Facebook contacts, entitled, “ROBIN WILLIAMS SAYS GOODBYE WITH HIS PHONE VIDEO BEFORE SUICIDE”. Here is an example of how it might look in your Facebook newsfeed:
Clicking the Facebook link takes you to a third-party website, which claims to have a video that was purportedly filmed on Williams’ mobile phone in the minutes before his death.
If you click to watch the video, you are informed that you first need to share the link on your Facebook wall. The scammers do this to encourage as many people as possible to go through the same process.
EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: ROBIN WILLIAMS SAYS GOODBYE WITH HIS CELL PHONE BEFORE HANGING HIMSELF WITH A BELT AND CUTTING HIMSELF WITH A POCKET KNIFE. HE CAN STILL MAKE EVERYONE LAUGH WITH THIS VIDEO BUT IT WILL MAKE EVERYONE CRY A RIVER AT THE END.
Instead of being shown the video, you are presented with a survey, from which the scammers behind this Facebook scam are making money.
“The point of the scam is that each time someone fills in the survey, they are paid an unknown sum,” said Peter Stancik, security expert at ESET. “This is not the first time that a celebrity death is used as click bait on Facebook. The more victims that complete the survey, the more money the scammers make. And, in case you were wondering: no video is shown after completing this Facebook scam.”
ESET Ireland’s advice:
The best thing to do is not to share or click on this scam, and report any sightings of it to Facebook. “It is a good idea to first check the links you click on social networks, and never Share or Like something before you have seen it yourself. Putting this in other people’s feeds is a surefire way to upset your friends” added Stancik.
Read more about this scam on ESET’s security blog, We Live Security: http://www.welivesecurity.com/2014/08/15/robin-williams-suicide-phone-call-scam/