WICHITA, Kan.- If you've been online lately, you've probably seen stories and headlines about the late Robin Williams.
But one of them isn't true and could actually lead to your identity being stolen.
Within 24 hours of williams's death, these scammers popped up online. They surfaced on Facebook and Google searches, inviting you to click on the 'Robin Williams Goodbye Video' they claim he filmed on his cell phone, urging you to 'share this video before watching.'
The problem is....
"There's really actually no video," says David J. Hensley, CEO of Wichita's Disciple Technologies. "This is a link that will either ask you to fill out a survey before you can see the video, this supposed video. Or it will ask you to download a video player to let you play the video. And that's a virus."
Hensley says when you click on these fake links, scammers can get your personal information. They then sell it to marketing companies. They can also spread malware on your computer, which is much more dangerous- and can lead to identity theft.
"They want data," Hensley says. "They want you to fill out some information. They want to have access to your profile on Facebook."
And when it does come to Facebook, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Even if it means ignoring some familiar faces.
""Don't trust your friends online," says Hensley. "I know it's weird to say but most of the time, these links are shared by your friends unwittingly. And so, part of the process of you clicking on this link is to share it on your wall. So you're helping to propogate that scam."
Some important internet safety tips, when it comes to clicking on outlandish links:
1. Hover your mouse over the video link first. If the words in that link are jumbled and nonsense, it's probably fake.
2. Never allow access to your facebook profile from an outside app, unless you're sure that app is harmless.
3. Check with your Facebook friend about the shared link before you click on it. Always assume that it might be a scam.
"It makes me sick to my stomach when something tragic like this happens and people exploit it for money," Hensley says.