(WPRI) - In the hours following Steve Jobs's death, scammers started figuring out a way to make money off of the worldwide reaction. They found their way into millions of Facebook accounts worldwide, and thousands have already been duped.
The Apple co-founder's death last week is having a profound impact worldwide -- and for some Apple diehard fans the loss feels personal.
Scammers work on several principles, with one big one: people will believe what they want to believe. And who wouldn't want to believe they can get a free iPad?
The tease in this scam: messages like, "In memory of Steve, a company is giving out fifty iPads -- RIP Steve Jobs!" with a link.
In reality, nobody's giving out free tablet computers, according to both the Better Business Bureau and Facebook officials. The link actually takes users to a page to complete online surveys -- at which point, you may be enticed to enter personal info.
The BBB warns you should stay away from anything that looks questionable or sounds too good to be true.
Instead, limit the links you click on.
- Make sure they're going to reputable websites, that aren't claiming to give you something for free.
- If you're not expecting the link in an email, Facebook or elsewhere, make sure that a friend actually sent it -- that the message they're sending is specific in detail to you, not lackadaisical or vague.
- It may be best to simply delete any emails that ask you to click a link to somewhere else.
In cases like this, the scammers' goal is to drive more traffic to certain websites, which is how the scammer earns his money: A commission for every survey completed, every product purchased and every account compromised.
Unfortunately, if you already clicked on a link to receive a free iPad or other promised freebies in honor of Jobs, there's little recourse since the scammers will shut down before they're caught. The best you can do is to contact all three credit reporting agencies and put a fraud alert on all your accounts.
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