Facebook, with its 1.32 billion active users, is clearly a major target for internet hucksters, who are adept at luring users with clickbait advisements. As chief security strategist at BitDefender, Catalin Cosoi, explaines,
‘Why do people still want to see who has been taking a peek at their profile, despite all security warnings? I think they believe these are legitimate apps. This is social engineering at its finest – a challenging mental game that pushes the right psychological buttons. The baits have changed over time, with stalkers, peekers, admirers, overly attached girlfriends and exes haunting you, but the reason this scam works is simple: human nature.’
Once users click on a malicious links, they are subjected to malware attacks and surveys designed to profile them (and which can then be sold to web marketing and analytics firms).
By far the most popular scam is one that promises to let you see how many Facebook views you have had, and who has visited your Facebook page, although the promise to be able to change your Facebook page color also appears to have a Siren-like appeal.
Non-existent secret celebrity sex-tapes also remain popular, although this year the focus has shifted from purportedly naughty videos of Taylor Swift, to Rihanna getting it on with Rihanna(?) / her lesbian love / her boyfriend…
Top Facebook scams of 2014
1. Total profile views/visitors – see who’s looking at your profile! 30.20%
2. Change your Facebook Color/Colour – imaginary options include pink, red or black. 7.38%
3. Rihanna sex tape with her boyfriend. 4.76%
4. Check my status update to get free Facebook T-shirt . 4.21%
5. Say goodbye to Blue Facebook (Dites Aurevoir au Facebok BLEU) – similar to number 2, but aimed primarily at French speakers 2.76%
6. Unsealed. We are giving them away for free – the claim is that opened products cannot be sold, so they are being given away for free. This is mainly used generate bogus ‘Likes’ for a webpage, and free goods are never forthcoming 2.41%
7. Check if a friend has deleted you – this is simply not possible, although there is nothing stopping you visiting each friend’s page to see if they are still your friend… 2.27%
8. See your top 10 profile peekers here! – similar to number 1. 1.74%
9. Find out how to see who viewed your profile – and again… 1.55%
10. Just changed my Facebook theme. It’s amazing – (scams really are not original). 1.50%