If you come across a post on Facebook that advertises a “shocking” video of a roller coaster accident in which 16 people have died, you should know that it’s probably part of a malicious scheme.
The posts in question read something like this:
“OMG!!! Leaked CCTV video caught the accident in Universal Studios Theme Park in Orland, Florida. It shows that 16 people already dead after the roller coaster was departed from the rails and crashed into the ground.
There are 24 passengers all in all, 16 dead and 8 are in critical condition. This video will not be televised on air as requested of the family for privacy. Please continue with discretion. Watch this video here: [Link].”
According to Hoax Slayer, the scammers have two goals: to lure users to a phishing site and to trick them into taking part in a survey.
First, when users click on the link, they’re taken to a Facebook phishing site. After they enter their credentials, victims are presented with an error message according to which the email address is invalid.
In the second phase, victims are redirected to a website that promises victims various prizes if they take a quick survey. Of course, no one gets to win the prizes. The scammers on the other hand can make a lot of money if they can trick enough internauts into completing the surveys.
The cybercrooks make a profit via affiliate marketing networks that pay them a certain amount of money each time the sites are accessed.
Last year, there were a few months when the number of Facebook scams relying on shocking videos seemed to have disappeared. However, over the past months, their number seems to have skyrocketed. Judging by reports, at least one new scam has emerged each week.
Judging by the types of websites that users are lured to, only 2 or 3 groups are responsible for the scams.
Many users don’t realize this, but many of these schemes can be very dangerous. Most of the ones that point victims to survey sites are designed to trick people into signing up for premium mobile services. These services can inflate phone bills with tens of dollars each month.
In addition, there are Facebook scams that point to phishing sites. The cybercriminals can use the harvested credentials to hijack the social media accounts and use them to distribute spam and even malware.
If you’re among the users who have shared such posts, remove them from your timeline and warn your friends.