NEW YORK (MainStreet) – Big world events tend to bring out the scam artists – just look at the fraudulent emails and fake charities that were set up in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the recent Japanese earthquake. The recent death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of American Navy SEALs is likely to be no different.
Indeed, the thirst for knowledge about the operation that killed Bin Laden has already given rise to a scam. Naked Security, the official blog of IT security firm Sophos, reported yesterday that a supposed video of Bin Laden's death was circulating on Facebook. Users who click the link are told that they only need to “Like” the post and then share it with their friends in order to watch the video. Once they do so, they're told that they only need to fill out a quick survey to access the video.
That video never materializes, of course: There is no video of the raid that we know of, and while there is a picture of Bin Laden's corpse, it has yet to be released by the White House. So if you see a link on your news feed proclaiming to contain “Shocking NEW VIDEO of Osama Bin Ladens [sic] DEATH!!” you can ignore it – or better yet, leave a comment letting people know that it's a fake.
As always, be vigilant about the links you click, whether in an email or on Facebook. Another blog post on the site notes that spam email claiming to have images of Bin Laden's body are already circulating, though the links in question only bring you to an advertisement. And it also warns that fake websites claiming to have news and images related to the event are likely to pop up, and that these sites could download malware onto your computer if you're not careful.
If there is video or imagery related to Bin Laden's death, it's likely to end up on mainstream news sites, not on your buddy's Facebook page. Use common sense, and remember: If it looks suspicious, don't click it.