On Your Side Alert: Photo Sharing Scam

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - There is a warning if you plan to buy anything online. Cyber experts and the FBI say crooks are using  photo-sharing programs to compromise computers.

Most of us have been to those online classified Ads looking for that next great item. But if you do, the FBI says use caution, in particular, if the Ad says photos will be sent on request.

Kevin Boynton, with The Computer Doctor of Richmond says it's called a photo sharing scam. When you request that picture, crooks will usually send a malicious file. "Once they have got you on the hook, they are sending you to a fake photo site where yes, you will see photos of the whatever it is you think you are trying to buy but it is something they've set up, and possibly could be infecting you at that point," he says.

Boynton admits, these criminals are good at convincing you that the scheme is legit. By the time most people realize they've been duped, the crooks have what they're after. "They have not only stolen a couple hundred bucks or a thousand bucks that you just paid them but they also now have your credit card information," he says.

The FBI says many times the deception happens when people are looking to buy a car online. Boynton says the safest option is to steer clear if the Ad doesn't come with a picture -- or you can't see it before you buy it. Also, if the price is too good to be true, skip the Ad and keep searching. If you are still tempted, make sure your anti-virus is up to date and scan files before you download them. He says don't be so quick to give your cash -- do your research. "Craigslist does a good job of trying to alert their users as to common scams, such as don't fall for something that seems to good to be true and they highlight these things very prominently," Boynton reminds us.

If you think you've been scammed, you can report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at IC3.Gov.

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