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Cyber crooks sending faux Malaysian flight emails, stories

PHOENIX — Whenever there is a captivating new story with mass appeal, cyber crooks step up their game to dupe unsuspecting consumers into divulging their personal information.

“It happened when Michael Jackson died, when Osama Bin Laden was captured and killed (and) it’s happening again with the disappearance of the Malaysian flight,” said Ori Eisen, co-founder of 41st Parameter, a Scottsdale-based online fraud detection software company. “They prey on the curious.”

In the case of the missing Malaysian flight, crooks have started to post bogus pictures, along with attention-grabbing photographs, depicting what may appear to be wreckage or survivors on social networking sites. In reality, the pictures are fake or of a different incident altogether.

The goal is to lure people to these sites and methodically attain personal information or to infect computers with malware.

“There’s really no way to stop it,” Eisen said. “You have to think twice about opening anything that isn’t from someone you know.”