Scammers are using missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 as a platform to spread malware and survey scams to gain revenue via Facebook.
One scam that’s been going around for the past few days says: “Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane Found in Bermuda Triangle! Passengers Alive!” It also includes a photo of a passenger jet sitting on top of the water, but that was actually taken last year when a Lion Air plane crash-landed, injuring dozens in Bali.
There’s no video footage of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
When users click on the “Bermuda Triangle” Facebook post, they’re taken to a page that is designed to look like Facebook, which then prompts users to share the post first. After the post is shared to the user’s wall, the page then displays surveys that promise a video, but there is none.
The surveys are designed to take users’ personal information, which can then be sold off.
“But, no matter how many surveys or offers they complete, they will never get to see the promised video,” says a post from Hoax-Slayer. It adds: “The surveys will ask users to provide their mobile phone numbers, ostensibly to get survey results or register for a prize. But, fine print on the page will inform users that, by submitting their phone numbers, they are actually signing up to a very expensive SMS subscription that takes several dollars from the user’s phone account every time it sends a text.”
“Other surveys or offers may ask users to provide their name, address and phone number to continue participation. This information will later be shared with online marketers, resulting in unwanted email, phone calls and surface mail,” the site continues.
As of Thursday, Australian officials were checking the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet, which vanished March 8.
Four planes were checking to see if two large objects spotted in satellite imagery bobbing in the remote ocean were debris from Fight 370 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.
One of the objects was 24 meters (almost 80 feet) in length and the other was 5 meters (15 feet). There could be other objects in the area, a four-hour flight from Australia’s southwestern coast, said John Young, manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s emergency response division.
“This is a lead, it’s probably the best lead we have right now,” Young said. He cautioned that the objects could be seaborne debris along a shipping route where containers can fall off cargo vessels, although the larger object is longer than a container.
A statement from the authority said the four planes searched an area of 23,000 square kilometers (8,800 square miles) about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth on Thursday without success. The area is about halfway between Australia and desolate islands off the Antarctic.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.