WARNING: Beware Of Chat Hijackers

Facebook spammers have been hijacking people's accounts to send chat messages touting prizes but only leading to marketing surveys. Completing them wastes your time and puts you at risk or contracting malware and receiving spam, while the spammer earns a commission.

Facebook spammers have been hijacking people’s accounts to send chat messages touting prizes but only leading to marketing surveys. Completing them wastes your time, put you at risk or contracting malware and receiving spam, while the spammer earns a commission.

The schemes appear to spread regardless of whether you click on the links, although I suspect that clicking on them might accelerate the chat-spamming. Here’s a screenshot of one I just received, complete with typos and general weirdness — like the fact that my friend’s account sent this when he wasn’t even on the site.

I noticed that another friend who’d received this same message recognized it as spam sent via a hacker, and posted a friendly warning to that effect. I copied the addresses from the chat window, logged off of my main Facebook profile and signed back on using my secret shadow account in order to avoid spamming my friends. Then I checked out the addresses touted in the chat hijacking, which both lead through the same sequence of screens.

One could say that the silver lining on this cloud of spam is that it doesn’t post messages on people’s walls nor status updates, but spamming through chat is just as annoying. Have you seen any chat hijackings on Facebook, either like the example I just received or others? What’s the best way to help the social network crack down on these annoying campaigns?