It’s so easy for spammers to increase the amount of free currency promised in scams when the only real giveaway is more spam. The latest, touting 500 Credits, was gaining momentum when we originally posted this article, but Facebook spokepeople have told us that the application has been disabled. But you can never be too safe, so please don’t click on any posts that look like this:
Clicking on one of these posts leads to a Facebook page devoted to the scam. There, a list of five steps makes it look like you have some choice over how the offer gets passed on to your friends. Don’t be fooled — there is no opportunity to select who to forward gets this offer. It’s all or nothing. As soon as you click on this application, it spams all of your contacts.
Click on that link, and you travel to another Facebook page asking you to click two more times. (For the record, I’ve created a separate account to screen my friends from my heroic tests of the latest and greatest spamware. I click on these things so you don’t have to.)
Clicking on that image opens another tab in your browser that shows a screen with the all-too-familiar permission request. Instead of clicking “allow,” we suggest that you click on the smaller blue text toward the lower right-hand corner that says “report this application.”
But since I’m clicking so you don’t have to, I can tell you that a click on “allow” leads to a screen with a box that includes a “get credits” button.
After clicking the blue button on this screen, you finally see the tell-tale invitation to complete a survey. Now the promise has changed to free credits for completing one of six offers, including two that appear to have conflicting freebies.
We know that none of the promised givewaways are guaranteed to you upon completion of this survey. You are entered into a drawing for them, without ever getting notified about the real winner of said drawing. The only sure thing is the commission the spammer earns if you complete a questionnaire.
Update: A Facebook spokesperson reached out to us around 2 pm Pacific time, telling us that the company disabled the application, offering the following prepared statement:
Protecting people who use Facebook from spam and scams is a top priority for us. Apps, pages and events that attempt to trick people into providing personal information or spamming their friends with invites violate our policies, and we have a large team of professional investigators who quickly remove these apps when we detect them or they’re reported to us by people on Facebook.
We advise people to be suspicious of anything that looks or feels strange online – whether it’s an unfamiliar link in a message from a friend who hasn’t contacted you in a while, or a promise of something valuable if you take a certain action or provide personal information.
So have you seen this latest scam on your friends’ walls or news feeds? Has anyone reported it to Facebook yet?