Don’t get punked by Facebook, watch out for these spam attacks

It’s the gift that keeps on giving: Another installation of our Facebook spam and scam report in the hopes that they stop polluting your Facebook News Feed and profile.  

A quick disclaimer: We might be referencing links to the scams we find in text form so you don’t accidentally click them while reading. We can warn you, but we can’t stop your curiosity.  Feel free to do so at your own risk (but really, do you have to? Is it worth it?).

The Rihanna sex tape that wasn’t

Rihanna sex video event

Be careful about clicking on invitations to events that are sent to you, because according to Sophos, that’s how this recent sex scandal-themed scam centered on the singer began its rounds on the Facebooksphere.  Anybody curious as to why Rihanna would want to get back together with Chris Brown would probably not hesitate clicking on this invite that showcases the couple in an intimate embrace.

Clicking on said invite will take you to a page that asks the following text:

[VIDEO] RIHANNA SEX TAPE

I lost all respect for her after watching this >> [LINK]

The URL leading to the supposed video is http://y.ahoo.it/ – and no, that is definitely not a link to Yahoo! Italy.  What it is is a URL shortener—much like bit.ly or t.co—cleverly disguised as a legit link to try and fool the not-so-careful.  Those people are encouraged to “Click Play To Start The Video” and are brought to a page that asks users to verify that they are human by simply generating a Verification Code (in red text, to make sure you know it’s legit – no, it still isn’t) and asking them to copy the code into their address bar.  As a “Final Step,” users are requested to submit their verification codes.  After a two minute wait while your code “verifies,” users are led to a separate website that asks them to verify that they human again, this time by answering a “survey” or participating in a “trial.” All signals that you’re being led astray. 

Long story short, you won’t find a steamy sexcapade between Rihanna and Chris caught on camera – just an endless loop that hides the fact that you actually just relinquished command of your Facebook account and friends list to scammers.  That verification code you just generated and pasted?  It’s actually an authentication token that enables cybercriminals to hijack your Facebook account and get it to post the scam message as comments to many Facebook posts.

If you find yourself a victim of this scam, make sure you scour your News Feed for its postings and delete them, as well as any comments or events you may have unintentionally posted and shared.

In this case, do not go for the gold

This particular scam can easily “scare” Facebook users who are already iffy about their privacy settings – all it is at first is a message that somebody posted, with of course the usual “please share so this issue gets resolved ASAP” appendage to it:

It’s official. Communication media. FACEBOOK has just published its price. fee of $? ($ 9.99), to become a member of “gold” and keep your privacy as it is. If you paste this on your wall will be completely free. Otherwise, tomorrow all your documents can become public. Even those messages that you have deleted or photos that you have not authorized …… not cost you anything, copy and paste.

You’ve probably seen a variation of this message before.  That’s because this is actually an old hoax that started spreading as early as 2010, and it’s making a comeback – but rest assured, Facebook will never charge you.

The possibility of a privacy leak is the new addition to this spam revival, hoping to appeal to people’s fear of being publicly humiliated online.  Alongside this, a similar Facebook scam is also circulating, scaring users with the concept of “Facebook Jail” if they send out too many friend requests that are rejected.  Although there’s some truth to this notion (your request privileges will be temporarily suspended if you send out too many that are ignored), the idea this scam implies of irretrievable Facebook account termination in its entirety is a complete farce.

Parents, beware

talking-angela-app

Plenty of parents are Facebookers, and in this case, they are the likely targets of this particular hoax.  It starts with a warning that looks like this:

WARNING FOR TO ALL PARENTS WITH CHILDREN THAT HAVE ANY ELECTRONIC DEVICES , EX : IPOD,TABLETS ETC …. THERE IS A SITE CALLED TALKING ANGELA , THIS SITE ASKS KIDS QUESTIONS LIKE : THERE NAMES , WHERE THEY GO TO SCHOOL AND ALSO TAKE PICTURES OF THEIR FACES BY PUSHING A HEART ON THE BOTTOM LEFT CORNER WITHOUT ANY NOTICES . PLEASE CHECK YOUR CHILDREN’S IPODS AND ALL TO MAKE SURE THEY DO NOT HAVE THIS APP !!! PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON TO YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY MEMBERS THAT HAVE KIDS !!!!

Simply put, it gives parents a heads-up about the Talking Angela “site” that’s probably installed on their kids’ devices, saying that it unwittingly takes pictures and asks pertinent personal information without the kids knowing it.  Like most hoax messages out there, the post is in all caps to denote real seriousness and asks that the message be passed on to friends and loved ones, because it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Further investigation into the app reveals that claims of it tricking children into releasing private data is a sham; it’s no different from the apps that are currently available in the Apple Store.  Unlike what the warning claims, it is an app, not a site, and its only known function is repeating what the child says into their iOS device using a French accent.

In general, it’s always a good idea to keep a keen eye on what apps your children use on their phones.  But rest assured that Talking Angela is not a real threat.

Bill Gates does not want to give you $5,000

Bill Gates $5000 Giveaway Hoax

It’s possible, right?  Bill Gates is loaded with cash, so the idea of him giving away $5,000 on Facebook could be true! There’s no harm in trying!

That last statement is usually what drives unsuspecting Facebook users to freely click on the Share button and propagate unfounded claims, usually those that have something to do with free things or money.  In this case, the scam is led by a grinning Bill Gates holding up a sign that says he will give $5000 to anybody that shares the image and “proves” that he is, indeed Bill Gates, by referencing Windows XP.

Sorry to burst your bubble, Facebook hopefuls, but this image is a fake.  The message is believed to be a reference to an older hoax that claims Microsoft would pay you for forwarding an email message to your entire address book.  This is the original photo, taken as a part of Bill Gates’ participation in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” segment. Seriously, if you saw that Lucida font and didn’t know this was fake, we’re questioning your sanity. 

Bill Gates $5000 Giveaway - Orginal Picture

Never help a foreign prince you met on the Internet

scammerDon’t trust people on Facebook you don’t know, especially if they contact you out of the blue with a proposition that involves shipping goods overseas. This serves more as a reminder than a current Facebook trap, but it deserves mention. 

Here’s how this particular scam plays out:  A scammer pretending to be from a country like Africa or Jamaica contacts a Facebook user.  Scammer tells Facebook user that he or she is trying to raise funds to get to the US.  He or she then asks the user if they can have items they bought online (using a stolen credit card, unknown to the user) shipped to their address so that the user can forward it later on.

Some sites don’t ship overseas, if you let me use your U.S. address as my shipping address, I will reimburse you later on – this is the type of claim the scammer mentions in the hopes of convincing the Facebook user to do this favor.

Let’s be honest with ourselves.  What are the odds of a complete stranger paying you back for shipping a package?  Slim to none.  Okay, completely zero.  So don’t even get involved in a transaction such as this one.  If you think you’re smart enough to not fall for this kind of ridiculousness, keep in mind that there are people out there who have been fooled, so it’s better to be alert and numb to random people’s pleas for kindness.

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