3OYS warns consumers about 'click bait' scams

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- From the locker room to the courtroom, to new marriages and divorce filings, and the red carpet in Hollywood, millions of Americans are fascinated with celebrities.

And news surrounding celebrities is just a click away on your smartphone or computer.
  
"Shocking videos, shocking photos, so scammers know that you want to know and they play on that curiosity to click on links," said Myriam Cruz.
 
Cruz is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau and says recent malware was hidden inside links referencing the death of actor Robin Williams. Scammers posted a hoax about his final words on Facebook, but it was actually a vehicle for malicious software to hide a tactic called "click baiting."

There was also a hoax with the Malaysia Airlines plane disappearance.

"Basically, they use information so people are more likely to click on links, and scammers are taking advantage of people's curiosity to install malware and steal personal information from consumers," Cruz said.

The problem has gotten so bad that the BBB had to issue a warning to alert consumers about the trick.

Cruz adds, "If it asks for personal information, if they're asking to submit your name, address, even like your credit card information, that's a big alert."

The BBB even teamed with a well-known Internet security company to find out the most dangerous celebrities to click on. In other words, they determined the celebrities associated with the most malware.

Cruz revealed the 10 celebrities who topped the list: Jimmy Kimmel, Armin van Buren, Ciara, Flo Rida, Bruce Springsteen, Blake Shelton, Brittney Spears, Jon Bon Jovi, Chelsea Handler and Christina Aguilera.
 
So remember, before you click on that link about your favorite celebrity, make sure it's a legitimate website.

Cruz says, "It's OK to have a fascination, just make sure you get your information from the right sources. Like I said, most content is available online through official sites, so it's OK to be curious; just make sure your curiosity doesn't lead you to identity theft."