Outline Message appearing on Facebook Walls claims that the user can get 5000 Facebook credits for free just by following a link in the post.
The message is a scam. Those who follow the link will be tricked into spamming the Free Credits message and other such bogus promotions via their own Facebook Walls. They will also be fooled into participating in various "surveys" or "offers" that require them to provide personal information and sign up for expensive subscriptions. Victims will never receive their promised free credits.
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Messages like the example shown above are once again appearing all over Facebook. The posts promise free Facebook credits for those who click an included link and participate as instructed. Facebook credits spam like this has been a common visitor to the social network over recent months. The number of supposed credits offered and other details vary between incarnations.
While the messages may sound enticing, they are not what they seem. The promised credits are just the bait used by unscrupulous Internet marketers to make money via their unsuspecting victims. Those who take the bait and participate will never receive their "free" credits.
People who fall for the ruse and click the link will first be taken to a page like the one shown in the following screenshot:
Victims are first instructed to "Share" the page and then post a specific message to their Wall and on 4 different Facebook game pages. They are also told that they must click an array of "Like" buttons. These "steps", which the page warns must be completed to get the free credits, effectively turns the victim into a spammer. By following the outlined steps, victims are promoting the same fraudulent "free credits" scheme to their Facebook friends and to other Facebook communities they may be involved with. And, by clicking the line of "Like" buttons, they are also promoting other dubious Facebook groups and pages without even realizing it. Thus, the people who operate these bogus promotions are fooling their victims into laying the bait for yet more victims, most of which are likely to be their own friends or family members.
And that is only Part One of the scam. Once victims have completed all of the above steps, they will be taken to a page like the one shown below:
The page will claim that victims must complete at least one "offer" before proceeding. But, after victims click one of the "offer" links, they will soon become lost in a confusing morass of flashing and blinking web pages, all promoting further prizes, surveys or services. Each page is designed to move victims on to yet more such pages after getting the desired information. Some of the 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. If users, attempt to close some of the windows in their browser, popup messages will prompt them to stay on the page and complete the offer or survey before leaving. These popup windows further add to the confusion.
But, no matter how many offers or surveys they complete, or what services they subscribe to, victims will never receive their promised credits.
Meanwhile, the people 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. And victims may be faced with large phone bills for unwanted mobile phone services and, because they have provided name and contact details, they may also be inundated with unwanted promotional emails, phone calls and junk mail.
There are a great many versions of such survey scams that regularly come and go on Facebook. Facebook users should be very cautious of any messages that offer Facebook credits, Facebook enhancements such as a Dislike button or "see who viewed your profile' apps, food or service vouchers, or devices such as iPhones. Other variants may promise users titillating footage of celebrities, breaking news stories, or videos of gross, unusual or "secret" events. If you receive such a message, do not click on any links that it contains. Don't be fooled into spamming your friends by "Liking", "Sharing" or reposting the scammer's promotional material or by installing rogue applications that may send out such material in your name.