Beware: Scammers Trying to Cash In on Steve Jobs’ Death

NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Well, that didn’t take long.

The morning after the death of Steve Jobs, scammers have already begun using the event to trick people into clicking malicious links. According to the Naked Security Blog run by security firm Sophos, a link circulating on Facebook claims that “a company” is giving away 50 free iPads in memory of Steve Jobs. Of course, clicking the link does not take you to the promised iPads; rather, it redirects you to a page that makes you fill out surveys to “qualify” for the giveaway.

We’ve seen this sort of thing before. After Amy Winehouse died over the summer, a Facebook post circulated claiming to show a video of her death, but it actually just directed users to fill out surveys. And a link to a Casey Anthony “confession” video likewise asked users to fill out a survey but never delivered the promised video. While scams of this sort generally don’t damage the user’s computer, in some cases clicking on the link causes it to be posted on your own Facebook wall, thus spreading the scam. The people behind the scams get paid a small fee by advertisers every time someone clicks the link and fills out the survey.

The good news is that the link shortening service bit.ly, which was being used by the scammers to redirect users to the survey page, has effectively blocked the link by throwing up a page warning users that they were entering what is believed to be a spam page. Still, we’d be shocked if the scammers didn’t immediately set up shop somewhere else. Indeed, someone has already established SteveJobsFuneral.com, which promises “photos and video from Steve Jobs' funeral service.” The hastily made site is covered in third-party ads for Apple products and asks you enter your email for a chance to win a MacBook. Obviously, you shouldn’t visit it.

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