8 Scams Circulating On Facebook This Month
Scammers Trolling For Prey On Facebook
Scammers have been having a field day on Facebook by tapping into human beings' bizarre affinity for viral videos that show other human beings engaging in ridiculous behavior. Aware of people's tendency to impulsively click on links in their friends' profiles, miscreants are running roughshod on the Facebook community with rogue applications.
Security researchers at Sophos have been keeping close tabs on this trend, and here CRN presents 8 viral scams that the security firm has observed running on Facebook during the month of August.
Justin Bieber Flirting Video
Teen heartthrob Justin Bieber is firmly ensconced in his 15 minutes of fame, and that means rampant speculation about everything from what kind of hair gel he uses to what type of ice cream he likes best.
In this Facebook scam, reported by Sophos earlier this month, users are invited to view a video showing Bieber turning on the charm to woo an unspecified target of his affections. When users click the link, though, they actually install a rogue application called Bieberflirting that requests permission to access their profile.
Doing so allows the app to post status updates and wall messages, so users should definitely resist the impulse to see what kind of moves the pop singer brings to the table
Anaconda Coughing Up A Hippo Video
Let's face it: Who wouldn't want to watch a giant snake regurgitating a hippopotamus? For some folks, it's right up there with watching a beautiful sunset or ruminating on life while watching an awe-inspiring waterfall.
OK, that may be an exaggeration, but in this scam, reported by Sophos this month, Facebook users that click the link get a rogue application download that asks to access their profile so that it can spam their buddies.
The rogue app also asks users to take part in a survey, which helps the miscreants on the other end to generate ill-gotten revenue. Those who find raw nature videos irresistible should be careful with this one. And besides, everyone knows hippos live in Africa while anacondas live in South America, right?
Student Attacking A Teacher Video
Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone! This rogue app spreads by appealing to Facebook users' desire to watch a fed-up student exacting revenge on a teacher after a dispute in class.
This app uses the standard method of getting a user to grant it permission to access their profile, but according to Sophos, it also asks the user to invite five of their Facebook friends to also download the app.
World's Worst McDonald's Customer Video
Those who enjoy a good laugh while watching someone losing their mind over the unavailability of chicken nuggets should be careful not to get sucked into this scam, which uses a link to a Facebook application called "Worst McD's Customer".
According to Sophos, the app asks for permission to post messages on the user's wall, access their data at any time, as well as access their contact information and their list of friends.
Girl Being Attacked By Shark Video
OK, we can understand why folks might want to check out a video clip of Justin Beiber chatting up some young ladies, but watching a video of a shark attacking a girl? There's even a thumbnail of a Jaws look-alike with mouth agape in full attack mode. Seriously, what is wrong with people?
According to Sophos, clicking the link causes the Facebook user to "like" and share the link with all of their Facebook friends, all without their knowledge.
If you really want to watch someone get attacked by a shark, just rent Jaws.
Justin Beiber Getting Naughty On Webcam Video
Justin Beiber is one popular fella, and so it's not surprising that the morally bankrupt among us would seek to use the old getting-naughty-on-the-Webcam ruse to pull in unsuspecting users. But in addition to tricking Facebook users into liking and sharing the link with their friends, this app also harvests personal data.
"Surveys like this not only scoop up your personal information, but also earn commission for the people who are spreading these links around," Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, warned in a blog post earlier this month. "In the worst cases they even ask for your cell phone number and sign you up for expensive premium rate services."
Girl Who Committed Suicide Over Father's Facebook Post Hoax
This one serves as a sad reminder that some miscreants out there aren't even looking to generate revenue -- they're just mentally ill. According to Sophos, there's a message spreading through Facebook warning of a "virus" that claims a girl committed suicide over a post her father made on her Facebook wall.
There's not even any malware attached to this one, just the passing along of false information. People think they're protecting their friends from malware, but in reality they're just perpetuating a hoax.
Toy Story 3 Hidden Rude Message Video
Toy Story 3 has received glowing reviews, but the film also includes a rude hidden message that's contained in a "shocking" image. That's according to a Facebook scam that's circulating this month, which lures users with the promise of having their warm, fuzzy impressions of the film blasted apart by something that's truly demented.
According to Sophos, in addition to advertising the link to all the user's Facebook friends, this scam also requires them to fill out an online survey, helping its creators to pad their financial gains even further, and the survey makers to do the same.