I guess hackers think Twitter users are a gullible bunch. They’ve just started a viral scam which promises to get Justin Bieber to follow you. But this time, the Twitter team cracked down quickly.
Sophos’ Naked Security Blog reports that the Justin Bieber scam hit Twitter last night, but by this morning it looks like it’s been all cleaned up.
The scam involved a Twitter bot tweeting to anyone who mentioned Justin Bieber (and there are dozens of tweets about him every minute), offering to get him to follow them – all they’d have to do was click an included link and do a short little IQ test. The tweets looked like this:
“Who knew that someone as famous as Justin Bieber could be one of your followers, u know. [LINK]”
When the unsuspecting 12-year-old girl clicked over to the IQ test, however, she was asked for her cellphone number. After submitting it, the poor Twitter user would be charged £4.50 per week for some random service that she’s not even aware she’s signing up for.
Taking advantage of people like this is the rule of thumb of scammers, but I hate to see it happen. Still, there is a silver lining in this story: the Twitter team has apparently cleaned up the scam and erased it from the face of the Twitterverse.
If you search for any of the terms in the offending tweet or the link it originally included, next to no results will appear. Twitter’s spam team was hard at work scrubbing the scam away: when I searched for the link included in the scam tweet, only three results appeared, which is nothing compared to the several per minute that Sophos was seeing.
Still, if you see a tweet that seems too good to be true, like an offer to get Justin Bieber to follow you, avoid clicking the link. And definitely avoid inputting your cell number into a text box on a site you don’t know.