One week ago we wrote about the rise of scam Facebook groups and as of today, these groups continue to proliferate. The groups encourage users to invite all of their friends in reward for an advanced feature on Facebook. Last week we wrote about one group which falsely claimed that you can change your Facebook “profile theme” by inviting all your friends. Today we were sent another which claims to let you find out who just visited your profile (found here).
These groups are scams that are looking to take advantage of users and incent them to complete offers. Most often the offers are the IQ quiz scams that we’ve covered relentlessly over the past year. While many users attempt to create large Facebook groups for fun, these groups are created by individuals who are running a business. By enticing millions of users to join groups, the group administrators are able to convert a large enough percentage that the generate thousands of dollars at a time.
It’s a sketchy business and one that spread quickly within Facebook applications last year. These advertisers no longer need to invest development time in the system. Instead they can dupe users into filling out these offers in exchange for a false product. By definition it’s a fraud so we decided to look into this further. There appears to be supposed “hosting” companies which are created for the sole purpose of hosting lead offers.
They can then claim that “customers” are using their free hosting services and that their hosting company is generating their profit from advertising hosted on the site and within the control panels. That’s what one of the employees of the “hosting company” 000a.biz told us. When I jokingly referred to their company as having a great name, the individual on the line smugly laughed in response.
As far as we’re concerned, the company could be one of numerous shell hosting companies that can state they generate advertising revenue although not all of that revenue is tracked. While 000a.biz has legitimate sites that are hosted on their servers, there are numerous scams that are set up through this hosting company and their sister hosting companies.
While there’s no way to suggest that the hosting company and these scammers are directly connected, it’s pretty obvious that things don’t appear to be the most legitimate. Would scammers really fall for their own scam ads and generate enough revenue to support these “hosting” companies?
The Facebook Group Scams
For now, the scammers have found a way to use Facebook groups and Facebook pages as a tool for driving users to their landing pages (as pictured below). Facebook has been shutting down these groups as soon as they pop up but it’s extremely difficult to stop as they are created with fake Facebook accounts. My guess is that we’ll see more of these show up before Facebook completely clamps down on the problem.
If you want to protect yourself, don’t complete any offers. Also if there is a group which sounds kind of fishy, there’s a good chance it’s a scam.