Innocent Facebook users have been duped into helping a scam spread far and wide across Facebook, posing as a link to a video claiming to show a man being eaten by a shark.
Messages have appeared across the site, shared from the Facebook accounts of users who have already been tricked into clicking on the link – believing that they will see gruesome footage of a man being eaten by a shark while swimming in the ocean.
Here is a typical message:
[SHOCKING VIDEO] Shark eats the swimming man in an Ocean !! [LINK]
Watch the Video-Heart breaking footage behind the scene !!
So, if you see one your Facebook friends post a message like the above – what happens if you make the mistake of clicking on the link?
Well, the first thing that will happen is your browser is taken to a third-party website that tries (not very successfully) to trick you into believing you are still on Facebook.
Front and center of the webpage is a preview of the video that caught your attention in the first place, and underneath comments from alleged previous viewers of the video.
Clicking on the play button, however, does not instantly result in the video. Instead, you are urged to share the video link with other Facebook users *before* seeing the video for yourself.
As a general rule, Facebook users should never share content with their friends, family and colleagues before they themselves have determined if it’s worthwhile. Don’t be tricked by the promise of a lurid, shocking or sexy video into doing the scammers’ dirty work for them.
Because what they want is for as many people as possible to share their link, because before they will show you any video at all, they’ll demand that you complete an online survey.
Such online surveys earn affiliate cash for the spamming scammers, and sometimes hurt you directly in the pocket by tricking you into handing over your mobile phone number which is then signed-up to expensive premium rate services.
If you are on Facebook, and want to be kept updated with news about security and privacy risks, and tips on how to protect yourself online, join the Graham Cluley Security News Facebook page.