But that’s not stopping Facebook users being tricked into clicking on what appears, at first, to be a YouTube video link shared by their (already duped) Facebook friends.
MOST TERRIFYING ACCIDENT EVER!! Woman Falls from 220feet Roller Coaster
Click on the Picture to see the Most Terrifying accident ever!
The image mimics the normal thumbnail for a YouTube video, but you’re not going anywhere near YouTube if you click on the link.
Instead you are taking to a webpage that is trying very hard to present itself as though it is still on Facebook, but is – in reality – hosted on a third-party site.
Beneath the alleged video of a woman falling off a 220 foot high roller coaster (although it’s clearly not a roller coaster, but a chair swing carousel ride instead) are what appear to be numerous comments from other Facebook users, claiming to have been shocked by what they have seen.
This is the worst possible thing that could have ever happened
omg i can’t believe what i just saw.
The intention of these messages, of course, is to encourage you even more to click on the video.
Why would the people behind this webpage be so keen for you to do that? Well…
Turns out that you are required to share the video link on your public Facebook timelines, thus sharing it further with your friends and social network, before you can view the promised video.
Of course, this lures even more people into the trap, and helps to spread the scam virally across Facebook.
Remember this: never ever share something on Facebook before you are convinced of its legitimacy. If something insists that you share it before you can read or view it for yourself, you should always be extremely suspicious!
The aim of this scam is to drive large numbers of Facebook users to online surveys, that can collect information about you – such as your mobile phone number – and earn affiliate cash for the scammers. Of course, if they are successful at driving web traffic to a particular webpage they could also plant malware designed to infect your computer at the same time too.
It’s a shame that Facebook hasn’t been more successful at shutting down scams like this, which have been plaguing the social network for years. It seems the best defence is to clue yourself up about online threats, and make sure that you and your friends are aware of what scams look like so you don’t fall for them yourselves.
If you’re thinking of leaving Facebook, why not listen to this “Smashing Security” podcast we recorded:
Found this article interesting? Follow Graham Cluley on Twitter to read more of the exclusive content we post.