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Security & privacy

Watch out for Baby Sussex scams

Reporters and international media lost their collective minds when the Royal Wedding graced our TVs in 2018. Now, with the birth of the Baby of Sussex, people across the world are clamoring to learn more about the newest addition to the British Royal Family.

Sadly, just like with any historical event, fraudsters and scammers are on the loose — preying on curious people who might not know all the tricks of the cybercrime trade. These creeps revel in the noise that comes with important news, and will try everything to steal your personal and financial information. Especially with how rampant data breaches are in today’s online ecosystem, knowing your enemy has never been more important.

Following and caring about the news shouldn’t cost you your savings and privacy. If you want to know how to avoid getting snookered by the onslaught of Baby Sussex frauds, we’ve got all the details on the viral method that cybercriminals are employing.

How are scammers using the Royal Baby to steal people’s money?

In light of current events, scammers are targeting Facebook users with a new scheme that takes advantage of the buzz surrounding Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan Markle’s new baby. This scam is a “bait-and-switch” style ploy that relies on a fake website to scan the user’s computer for private information like bank accounts and credit card numbers.

In its most common form, the false link appears as something your friend would share on their Facebook timeline. The link promises “exclusive footage” of the newborn, but if you click the link, you’re told you need to update your “video player” in order to proceed.

If you choose to download the file, you end up downloading a virus that compromises your system, steals information, and shares the fake viral post to your Facebook friends. That way, the scammers can continue to ensnare more innocent people.

How to protect yourself against Baby Sussex scams

Like with any scam on social media, the best way to protect yourself is to use your best judgement before clicking anything shared by your friends. Remember the old saying: If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.

A handy trick you can try is to message the friend who shared it and ask them for more information. In the case of the Baby Sussex scam, the link isn’t posted by your friend, but by their compromised account.

By sending that friend a message, not only are you protecting yourself before you click on something suspicious, but you’re also potentially alerting your friend to the fact that their account has been hijacked. No doubt, they’ll be grateful you did. At the very least, you’ll be able to have a conversation with your friend. Good things come to those who ask, after all.

If you do see suspicious links like the Baby Sussex scam, or any other links that can potentially harm your friends or followers, reporting the post is one of the best things you can do. Doing this doesn’t harm the friend who shared the post (if anything, it may help them out) and can protect both of your friend groups from falling victim to these rapidly spreading phishing schemes.

Modern scams and frauds are called “viral” for a reason — they spread. With a watchful eye and sound judgement, you can prevent them from becoming viral in the other, more deadly sense of the word.

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