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Issue 171 - February, 2014 (1st Edition) - Page 1

Facebook 'Account Verification' Scam

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Outline
Message purporting to be from the "Facebook Verification Team" claims that users must verify their profiles by March 15th 2014 to comply with the SOPA and PIPA Act.

Hand cursor clicking on scam button

© Depositphotos.com/ daoleduc



Brief Analysis
The message is a scam and not from any official Facebook Verification Team. Those who follow the link will be tricked into installing a rogue Facebook app and participating in bogus online surveys. Some variants may attempt to trick users into divulging their Facebook email address and password to criminals.

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Example

Warning: Announcement from Facebook Verification Team:
All profiles must be verified before 15th March 2014 to
avoid scams under SOPA and PIPA Act.

Verify your Account by steps below

Invite your friends.

Facebook Verification Scam


Detailed Analysis


According to a message currently moving round Facebook, all users must verify their profiles by March 15th 2014 in order to comply with the SOPA and PIPA Act. The message, which comes in the form of a graphic, claims to be an announcement from the "Facebook Verification Team".  Users are instructed to click an "Invite your Friends" button to begin the verification process.

However, the message is not an official Facebook notification and the claim that users must verify their accounts by March 15th is untrue. 

Users who fall for the ruse and click the button will first be asked to give a Facebook application permission to access their details. Once installed, this rogue app will spam out more fake messages in the name of the user. 

Victims will then be taken to another fake page where they are again told that that they must verify their account by clicking a further link. However, clicking the link takes them to various survey pages or tries to entice them to sign up for online games.

Many of the surveys claim that users must provide their mobile phone number to enter in a prize draw. But, by giving out their number, users are actually signing up for very expensive SMS "subscriptions" charged at several dollars per message sent.  Other surveys may ask victims to provide personal and contact information that will later be shared with third parties and used to inundate them with junk mail, emails, phone calls and text messages.

The scammers responsible for the bogus "verification" messages will earn commissions via dodgy affiliate marketing systems each and every time a person participates in a survey or provides their personal information in an online "offer". 

Reports indicate that some versions of the scam may try to trick victims into divulging their account login details to criminals. The criminals can then hijack the compromised accounts and use them to distribute further scam messages.

The scam is a reincarnation of an almost identical "verification" scam campaign from June 2012. And, in May 2013, another variant of the scam claimed that Facebook fan page owners were required to verify their accounts.

Facebook would never require users to verify their accounts by installing an app or participating in online surveys. If you receive one of these bogus messages, do not click on any links that it contains.

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Last updated: January 28, 2014
First published: January 28, 2014
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

References
What is a Facebook Survey Scam? - Survey Scams Explained
Facebook Account Verification scam tricks unsuspecting users with SOPA/PIPA warning
Facebook 'Fan Page Verification Program' Phishing Scam



Next Article

Issue 171 Start Menu

Pages in this issue:
  1. Facebook 'Account Verification' Scam
  2. No, the Labour Party is NOT Planning to Introduce a 'Pet Tax'
  3. Satire - 'Black Mambas to Help Eradicate Cane Toads'
  4. Overblown and Inaccurate Gonorrhea 'STD Superbug' Reports
  5. 'Customer Service Center' Malware Emails
  6. Mint.Com.Uk 'Minimum Credit Card Payment Due' Phishing Scam
  7. Outrage Over Viral Image Depicting Young Woman Pointing Gun at Baby
  8. Hoax - 'All European Newborn Babies Microchipped From May 2014'
  9. 'Look Out for PayPal Scam' Warning Message
  10. Royal Caribbean International 'Vacation Package' Like-Farming and Survey Scam
  11. Spurious Health Tip - Onion on Feet to Take Away Illness
  12. The Tale of The Lion, Tiger and Bear Rescued from a Drug Dealer
  13. Apple Account 'Update to New SSL Servers' Phishing Scam
  14. 'Huge Plane Crashes Into Bridge' Survey Scam
  15. Boy Shot By Step Dad Charity Hoax
  16. Burger King 'Now Hiring Must Be Mexican' Billboard
  17. Moon Melon Hoax Image
  18. Bogus Funeral Notification Emails Point to Malware
  19. 'Giant Snake Eats Zookeeper' Video Survey Scam
  20. No, Five Meter Tall Human Skeletons were NOT Found in Iran