The sad news of Whitney Houston’s untimely death has brought yet another scam to Facebook.    Some people take advantage of the public’s insatiable appetite for news about public figures and use it as a scam.

According to MSNBC,

Houston, 48, was found unconscious and submerged in a bathtub in her room at the Beverly Hills Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., Saturday afternoon. An autopsy was performed, but Los Angeles assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said on Monday that a cause of death will not be announced until the results of toxicology tests are received, which could take weeks.

Yet, today, there appeared

There are those who are curious, or want to be the first to know the news who will click on this.  That will, of course, cause the message to appear in their friends’ news feed as well.  In addition, the user will get a message that an update of the YouTube player needs to be installed.  Allowing this actually causes a rouge browser plugin to be installed.   It is not clear to me what this plugin does, but you can be sure it is not a good thing!

In the real world, this is comparable to letting strangers into your home.  Suppose a shady looking person knocks on your front door.  Although you are not expecting anyone, and the person does not have the identification of a legitimate organization, you let the person into your home because he or she says they can tell you information about a public figure.  Would you let them into your home?  Probably not.  So, why let them into your virtual home?

Although the temptation is there, do not click on messages such as this.   If you clicked on it, never ever install anything unless it comes from a known and reliable source.

Instead try checking your favorite news source;  they will not be far behind on getting a real story.  As I have said before, search on the topic (in this case Houston’s autopsy) and see if others have found out (the hard way) that this is a problem.  If you see it in your feed, go to the right where there is the downward facing arrow and hide the story so others cannot see it.  Or, you can report it as spam.

If you have made the mistake of clicking through, then clean your machine.  Update your virus and malware protections and run them.  Uninstall the new plugin in the browser.  And if a friend shares the story about the autopsy, be sure to comment back to them that it is not real.

We must all become more “street smart” about our use of the Internet.  Not everyone on the Internet has noble purposes.