It’s not quite Throwback Thursday, but a throwback Facebook scam is back for another go-around, as Sophos’ Naked Security blog reported that the “girl killed herself video” bait-and-switch scam is worming its way around the social network for the fifth consecutive year.
Naked Security said the scam has been around since 2010, and the basic premise is using a nonexistent video of a teenage girl who killed herself after being shamed for inappropriate online activity, and the blog added that it usually works as follows:
- One of your friends shares a link along the lines of, “Girl killed herself live on cam.”
- It comes from a friend, so you click the link and arrive at a page that doesn’t overtly claim to be affiliated with Facebook, but nevertheless uses visual clues to make it look more official than it is.
- You’re invited to like the publisher’s Facebook page, a request that seems routine and harmless enough.
- If you take a look, the publisher’s page was recently created and might best be described as uninspired and uninspiring, but it seems harmless enough, perhaps leading you into a false sense of safety. (Banality is a surprisingly good cover for scammers, when you think about it.)
- You can skip past the like popup, but before you watch the video, you are forced to share it.
- And once you have shared it, you need to answer some questions as a sort of captcha — one of those tests to prove that you’re a person, or in this case, a person who’s old enough to watch adult videos. Except that the questions to prove you are eligible are, in fact, pay-per-click surveys or special offer pages that clock up revenue for the scammers every time someone fills them in. There’s no video at the end. (Even if there were, you’d already have shared the post and taken a money-making survey or been fronted by a special offer.)
Naked Security also offered three tips for avoiding scams of this variety:
- Don’t share or like anything as a prerequisite for viewing it.
- Logout from Facebook whenever you can.
- Think of your friends.
Readers: Have you seen any similar posts?
Screenshot courtesy of Naked Security.