NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Most people consider themselves pretty savvy when it comes to falling victim to an online scam. But there’s a new cyber scam that’s hiding in plain sight that could make you the next victim of what’s known as “click bait.”
As CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson reported, nothing piques our curiosity more than a good headline — but experts say click at your own risk.
“By doing that, it puts you and your computer in danger,” President of the New York Better Business Bureau Claire Rosenzweig said.
“Click baiting” or “click jacking” is the latest cyber threat that’s tricking internet users into clicking on a link that’s not what it seems.
“It’s hijacking your click. An example could be, ‘See these nude photos that were hacked,’ or, ‘Robin Williams’ last words,’ or it could even be, ‘Win a free iPad,’” Internet security expert David Sendroff said.
Sendroff says you’ll never actually see any of those things; instead, when you click, you open yourself up to identity theft, spyware and more.
“They might install malware or they could steal the use of your computer,” he said.
Rosenzweig says it doesn’t just come in the form of a link, either.
“It could be an email, it could be a text, it could be a website that rouses your curiosity,” she said.
Internet users say they see click bait all the time.
“It’s like, ‘check this out,’ ‘never before seen,’” Katie Lynch said.
“It looks exactly like it’s part of the news site so you automatically think that it’s connected,” Mercedes Smith added.
“There’s no way to decipher what’s the truth and what’s not,” Ashley Barton said.
Sendroff agrees that it’s very confusing.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Experts say you can start by using common sense and verifying the information on your own.
“If it’s a celebrity, go to their official site,” Rosenzweig said.
Most importantly, make sure your computer is protected.
“It’s very important to keep your browser up to date. Out-of-date browsers are more susceptible to things like click jacking,” Sendroff said.
Facebook and other social media sites are now taking steps to prevent the scam.
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