Facebook scams cash in on Steve Jobs' death

Facebook scams exploiting the death of Steve Jobs have been duping users of the social network since the Apple co-founder's passing was announced on Wednesday.

In one scam, which began circulating just two hours after Jobs' death was announced on 5th October, users were told that a company - not Apple - was giving away 50 iPads in memory of Jobs, Sophos researchers revealed on the security firm's Naked Security blog.

Under the headline 'R.I.P. Steve Jobs' alongside a picture of Jobs next to an Apple logo, the post reads "restinpeace-steve-jobs", and is accompanied by a URL shortened using bit.ly.

Facebook users clicking on the link were taken to a malicious site where they were asked to complete a short survey in order to cash in on the free iPad offer.

Survey scams often ask for personal information that can be used to carry out identity theft, or mobile phone numbers - enabling scammers to make money by sending premium-rate text messages to the victim's phone.

Sophos reports that 25,000 users from 100 countries had been duped by the scam, with US users accounting for 43 per cent of victims.

"Sickeningly, as with the deaths of other figures in the public eye, there are scammers waiting to take advantage of bad news," Graham Cluley, senior security consultant at Sophos, wrote on the blog.

Cluley warned users to expect more scams in the coming days, as cyber-criminals use social engineering techniques to attract users onto pages where they can be duped into survey scams or may be subject to malware attacks.

"It wouldn't be a surprise" if there are scams trying to take advantage of people who want to make a tribute to Jobs and "donate to Steve's favourite charities," Cluley said.