Is Nothing Sacred? Scammers Use Fake Facebook Tribute Pages to MH17 Victims

By David Cohen 

MoMaslinFakePage650Just when you think scammers have hit rock-bottom, they find a way to go even lower. Daily Mail reported that online scammers are attempting to drive traffic to websites promoting adult hook-ups and counterfeit drugs by using fake Facebook pages supposedly paying tribute to victims of Malaysia Airlines flight 17 (MH17), which was shot down over Ukraine last week.

According to Daily Mail, the scammers used the names of Australian victims including siblings Otis, Evie and Mo Maslin, as well as Liliane Derden and Fatima Dyczynski, and victims from other countries, including Quinn Lucas Schansman (U.S.), Rob Ayley (New Zealand, born in the U.K.), Richard Mayne (U.K.), Ben Pocock (U.K.), Liam Sweeney (U.K.), and even Malaysia Airlines Pilot Eugene Choo Jin Leong.

The pages use the promise of a video of the crash to bait Facebook users into accessing the outside websites.

Ken Gamble, chairman of the Australian chapter of the International Association of Cybercrime Prevention, told Daily Mail:

I’ve seen this quite a lot: Hackers get in, take control of a site, and they then divert to a stack of stuff and use the bandwidth of this guy’s website, sometimes for illegal purpose, or for getting the hits up on certain sites.

When a disaster like this happens, it’s a great opportunity for all sorts of scammers. Everybody is out there looking for information at the moment. Everyone wants to know more about what’s happened. It’s a great opportunity to prey on people’s vulnerabilities, and emotion is the greatest one.

Some people will be using it for an opportunity to market their sites. It’s a good way to bring a massive amount of traffic to someone’s site. Other offenders will be doing this for more sinister purposes.

Readers: Have you seen any questionable pages of this type related to the MH17 tragedy?

Image of fake Mo Maslin Facebook page courtesy of Daily Mail. Scolding image courtesy of Shutterstock.