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A guest post by Andrew Parker of IntaForensics.

Scammers on Facebook have taken full (heartless and sickening advantage) of Steve Jobs's death. A "R.I.P. Steve Jobs" page appeared online that made the claim that 50 free iPads were being made available as a tribute to Apple’s great co-founder. The user clicked on the link and was taken to an online survey to be able to "qualify" for the prize. The scammer received money for every survey completed, and no free iPads were available.

This was simply a method to get clicks. Who wouldn’t want to win an iPad? The fan page was presumably set up by the scammer as he/she wanted to exploit Steve Job’s death due to assuming a great number of people would be wanting to pay tribute by clicking ‘Like’ on a RIP-style tribute page.

15,000 people clicked the shortened link---and found themselves confronted with the aforementioned online survey. The short URL service was used to disguise the link, which was then taken down after Sophos reported the problem to them.

This tactic of selecting a news story, usually the death of a celebrity, is not a new way to get people to click on a link. Amy Winehouse’s death also caused scammers to uploaded posts that looked to take advantage of Winehouse fans looking for further information about her death.

5 Tips to Show You're Legit

With scammers using even a recent celebrity death to get rich quick, consumers are even more hesitant to trust online links or purchases. Here are five tips to ensure that consumers know that your site is legit.

  1. Make sure that you have clear, easy-to-find contact details on your site. A telephone number in the header and contact address on the foot of each page gives the impression of being trustworthy.

  2. A clear section about the team will help trustworthiness. If you can include photos and contact details of people, that’s even better.

  3. Client testimonials is another good way to show you are legitimate, especially if you include a link to the client’s website.

  4. Professional design is an obvious choice, but worth mentioning. People make an immediate impression of the site and the company based on how professional your design is.

  5. If your site allows online purchases, make sure a secure server is used to process order information. It also helps to clearly display a secure certificate icon on the home page.

It is important for employees not to click on links on Facebook. Even if it appears that a friend has posted the link, this is sometimes not the case, as the post is usually reposted once you click on a scam post. So, please be very careful when clicking on links. Make sure the link goes to a well-known website by hovering over the link and viewing where the link actually goes. If you don’t know where it goes, don’t click.

Andrew Parker of IntaForensics has contributed many specialist articles on computer forensics and mobile phone forensics.

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