A rumor that a TV reporter had a stroke while on the air is being exploited by Facebook scammers to trick people into installing spam apps on their profiles.
While doing a recap of the 53rd Grammy Awards, KCBS-TV news reporter Serene Branson suddenly began slurring her words, which prompted fears that she was experiencing a stroke.
Branson was examined by paramedics on the scene who determined that there wasn't anything serious and she was sent home to rest and have more tests done the following day.
Nevertheless, the video of her experiencing the sudden speech problem made it to YouTube and the news went viral on social media websites.
As always, when something attracts a lot of interest on the Internet, cybercriminals are always jumping at the opportunity to take advantage of it.
In this case the news was adopted as a lure for a survey scam generating messages like: "Omg this reporter had a stroke on live tv check it out [link]."
The link takes overly curious users to a rogue page showing a video thumbnail and telling people that they need to "allow" an application to be installed on their account before being able to see the footage.
Clicking the video thumbnail prompts a permissions request dialog from an app called "Reporter Stroke" which asks for access to post on their walls.
Of course, this is part of the scam and complying will silently send spam messages to all people in their friends list.
Furthermore, even if the app is installed the users won't be allowed to see the video, which, by the way, is freely available on YouTube.
Instead, they will be asked to complete one of several surveys, a process that generates money for the scammers and can result in people being unwillingly subscribed to premium rate mobile services.
People affected by this scam should go to Account > Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and remove the rogue app. They should also clean their wall of spam messages.