Online scammers seek to profit from the death of Steve Jobs

BOSTON Thu Oct 6, 2011 5:47pm EDT

The company's logo is seen on the Apple store in Washington October 6, 2011. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

The company's logo is seen on the Apple store in Washington October 6, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Yuri Gripas

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Online scammers are already attempting to capitalize on the death of Steve Jobs with a bogus offer to Facebook users for free iPads in his memory.

Computer anti-virus firm Sophos said that the scammers urged Facebook users to click on a link to register for free Apple Inc products, then requested they complete online surveys or enter gambling sites. The scammers profit when users click through those links because they get commissions based on the amount of traffic they bring to the websites, said Graham Cluley, a researcher with Sophos.

While this particular scam did not involve any computer viruses, online criminals could be planning more malicious campaigns focused on the death of Jobs.

"They could just as easily have taken those users to a webpage containing malicious code or a phishing page designed to steal credentials," Cluley said on the Sophos blog.

The scam, while tasteless, wasn't all that original. Computer fraudsters frequently attract prey by linking news of the latest tragedy or celebrity gossip to offers for free products, then packaging them in tainted Facebook messages, Tweets or emails.

(Reporting by Jim Finkle, editing by Bernard Orr)

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