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BBB warns of clickbait scams after Kobe Bryant tragedy

The Better Business Bureau warns fans not to let the mourning of the loss of a basketball superstar 'cloud their judgement.'
People gather outside Staples Center after the death of Laker legend Kobe Bryant, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Michael Owen Baker)

WASHINGTON — After the passing of a famous person, many times fans and collectors become eager for memorabilia and information the BBB points out. The nonprofit organization says everyone needs to be on the watch for scams that use the name of the former NBA star, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, Gianna. The two perished in a tragic helicopter crash Sunday along with seven others, according to authorities.

One type of scam the organization warns of is "spear phishing." This is when emails are sent to an individual, organization or business with a headline meant to catch your eye. The Better Business Bureau says these emails often purport to be from large well-known and reputable news organizations claiming they have exclusive news or an image or video, enticing the recipient to click on it.

These emails will often contain a link. If you're not familiar with the sender's email address, delete it, the BBB warns. Do not click on any emails or links unless you are certain they are coming from a reputable address that you recognize.

Another type of similar scam is known as "clickbate". These are posts claiming to have new, trending, newsworthy information that have sensationalized headlines claiming the news is breaking or urgent. The posts try and seduce or entice you to click on them. You may see words like "shocking" or "never seen before" the BBB says. Do not fall for these claims and if it sounds too good to be true, beware.

You should be able to hover your mouse arrow over the link to see the true destination for the hyperlink. And these types of tricks also carry over onto social media as well. Folks you are friends with online may have been hacked or may have fallen for clickbate as well, so continue to use caution. Even if the links or messages are coming from your social media friends, double check.