Horrible thing happened in California? Viral scam spreads on Facebook

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Another viral scam is spreading between Facebook users, tricking them into taking online surveys that earn commission for those who initiated the scam.


Thousands of Facebook users have found that their accounts have posted messages saying


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without their explicit permission.

The messages are designed to trick you into clicking on them, with some pretending to come from legitimate breaking news outlets such as Fox News.

If you do click on the links, however, you are shown a series of messages that lull you into believing that you will be able to access live car accident video footage.

Scam lure and rogue application request

Sounds pretty ghoulish doesn’t it? And you wouldn’t be far from the truth if you felt that you’d have to be pretty sick to want to see such content – but the internet can be a rather sick place.

As part of the trap, you are asked to give permission for a third party application. If you don’t grant permission for the third party Facebook app to access your profile (and post messages to your newsfeed) then you will not be able to see the video, or so the scam claims.

It’s therefore sadly predictable that many Facebook users are falling for the scam, which ultimately takes them to an online survey. Guess what? Yes, the scammers earn commission every time you complete a survey.

Survey scam

But if you did grant permission to the application, it has now posted the message to your own Facebook profile – spreading the scam even further.

Facebook account hit by viral survey scam

If you have been hit by a scam like this, delete the messages from your profile and remove the rogue applications that have access to your account.

Here’s a YouTube video where I show you how to clean-up your Facebook account:


If you want to learn more about security threats on the social network and elsewhere on the internet, you could do a lot worse than join the Sophos Facebook page.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

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