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The MH17 disaster could be used to scam Facebook users

Facebook might be the ‘most hated’ social media company in the US according to a survey, but it also has its merits, such as helping a mom reunite with her son close to three decades later after giving him up for adoption. Well, just like how there are two sides to a coin, so too, can Facebook be abused. Some scammers have decided to take advantage of the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that was shot down over Ukraine by a missile, posing as victims in order to gain sympathy funds from the public.

Facebook Inc. (FB) users in Australia have been warned that scammers are exploiting the crash of a Malaysian Air jet in eastern Ukraine last week. “Scammers have set up false Facebook profiles for Australian victims of the tragedy in an attempt to make money from people” seeking more information, the Australian competition and consumer authority said on its SCAMwatch website. “The profiles direct people to a blog, where they are then bombarded with dubious advertisements.” Flight MH17 was on route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam on July 17 when it was downed over eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew. Facebook users who click on the link to the blog will encounter pop-up advertisements, SCAMwatch said. Scammers will make money if users click on an advertisement, driving potential customers to a business’s website, it said. “We are disabling these profiles as soon as we are made aware of them,” Tina Kulow, a Facebook spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “We encourage people to block those responsible and report suspicious behavior to our team of experts via our reporting buttons so that we can quickly take the appropriate action. Our teams act swiftly on this.”

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