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Online scammers exploit MH17 grief Featured

Online scam artists, purportedly from Australia, are exploiting goodwill of strangers in the wake of the downed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 using stolen credit cards and setting up fake social media profiles.

There were 28 Australians onboard the doomed flight MH17, with the current death tally standing at 298 people.

One such victim was Canberra woman Liliane Derden, who has become the subject of a fake Facebook profile.

"We’re a little bit worried, we don’t know who’s out there doing it and we’d prefer that they know the truth and people aren't giving to charities or whatever the people are proposing to be," Derden's friend Carly Taylor told Fairfax.

Fairfax said scammers were vicious, and would set up replacement sites "faster than they could be taken down".

Links on the pages claim to take readers to further information, but instead bombard users with pop-up ads and "get rich quick schemes."

Some even purport to show footage of the MH17 disaster.

'Video Camera Caught the moment plane MH17 Crash over Ukraine.Watch here the video of Crash,' the link read.

"There's a lot of money in click fraud," said Alastair MacGibbon, who heads University of Canberra's Centre for Internet Safety.

"You're really dealing with a base type of person who uses the name of a person recently deceased in a tragedy to monetise. But that's why they're criminals and we're not."

Three of the fake pages have reportedly been set up in the names of young West Australian children who were killed - Otis, Evie and Mo Maslin.

These scams are sadly nothing new - in the wake of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 last March SCAMWatch warned Internet users of a malware attack when they click on links to watch videos related to the missing MH370.

Meanwhile admist widespread looting of the crash site in Ukraine, victims' credit cards have been reportedly stolen and banks are taking “preventative measures”, according to the Dutch Banking Association.

A statement from the Assocation said any expenditure will be compensated to next of kin.

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