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Issue 143 - November 2012 (2nd Edition) - Page 5

Survey Scam - Change Facebook to Black

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Outline
Messages being sent out across Facebook invite users to click a link to change their Facebook profile to black or another color.



Brief Analysis
The messages are scams designed to trick users into spamming their friends and participating in bogus online surveys. Users are enticed into installing rogue Facebook apps or browser extensions before being taken to third-party "survey" sites. The apps do not work as claimed and users will not be able to change their Facebook colors regardless of how many surveys they participate in. If you encounter one of these bogus messages, do not click on any links that it contains. And delete it from your Timeline.

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Last updated: November 13, 2012
First published: November 13, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer


Example
Change Your CoIor Right Now. [Link Removed]
 — 

Change Facebook Black Scam



Detailed Analysis
This message, which claims that users can "get the new Black Facebook" by clicking a link, is currently rocketing rapidly around Facebook. However, the claims are bogus and are intended to trick users into interacting with suspect survey pages and spamming their friends on the scammer's behalf.

Clicking the link takes the user to a rogue Facebook app or browser extension that promises the ability to change the color of your Facebook at will. There are several versions of the messages being distributed. The version I tested and am discussing here opens the following "Change your Facebook Color" page:

Change Facebook Color Window

Clicking the "Change Your Color" button takes users to a browser extension page where they are asked to install a "Color Changer" app. If they comply, users will receive a message stating that the app has been successfully added to their browser and is ready to go. However, the users are also advised that, before they can proceed with any color changes, they must first complete an online survey by clicking a link.

Some of the "survey" pages ask users to provide personal information including name, address and contact details, ostensibly to allow them to go in the draw for a prize. Others invite them to download dubious toolbars, games or software. Still others will claim that users must provide their mobile phone number - thereby subscribing to absurdly expensive text messaging services - in order to get the results of a survey or go in the running for a prize.

No matter how many surveys they complete, or what services they subscribe to, they will still be told that they have not yet completed a survey and therefore cannot use the "color changer'. In fact, the app does not work as described and will never provide the ability to change your Facebook colour.

Meanwhile, the same bogus promotion will be posted by the app to your Facebook Timeline and will also be sent out to all of your friends.

The scammers who create these bogus promotions will earn commissions via suspect affiliate marketing schemes each and every time a victim completes an offer or participates in a survey. Victims may also be faced with large phone bills for unwanted mobile phone services and, because they have provided name and contact details, they may be inundated with unwanted promotional emails, phone calls and junk mail.

There have been several variations of these color change survey scams, including one that claimed that users could switch Facebook to pink. Be wary of any Facebook messages that claim that you can change the color of your Facebook profile. If you encounter such a message, do not click on any links that it contains. To helps stop its spread, delete the bogus message. If you have already installed the rogue app or browser extension, you should remove it as quickly as possible.

It should be noted that there are quite legitimate browser extensions that allow you to change the appearance of your social media pages in various ways. Typically, these extensions are available via your browser's web or app store. However, any message that claims that you must participate in a survey before an app will work is sure to be bogus and should be avoided.

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References

What is a Facebook Survey Scam? - Survey Scams Explained
'Switch to Pink Facebook' Survey Scam

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Issue 143 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Hoax - Texas Town Adds Sugar to Water Supply
  2. Hoax - Facebook Shutting Down on January 15, 2013
  3. Suncorp Bank '1 Unread Message' Phishing Scam
  4. US States Petition For Secession
  5. Survey Scam - Change Facebook to Black
  6. Missy, Dog Rescued From Colorado Mountain
  7. Adam Sandler is NOT Dead
  8. Monkey Orchid
  9. Dangerous Hoax - 'A Needle Can Save The Life of a Stroke Victim'
  10. Hoax - Oliver North Warned Congress About Osama Bin Laden in 1987
  11. Facebook Rogue App/Survey Scam - Free $100 McDonald's Gift Card
  12. USPS Malware Emails
  13. Rumors Regarding FEMA and Hurricane Sandy
  14. Australia Day Name Change Hoax Targets Prime Minister Gillard
  15. Webmail Account Phishing Scam
  16. Misinformation Regarding Straight Ticket Voting On 06 November 2012 US General Election
  17. December 2012 - 5 Saturdays, 5 Sundays and 5 Mondays
  18. Lil Wayne is NOT Dead
  19. More 2012 US Election Dissatisfaction: California's Prop 37