A Facebook scam described by experts as the cleverest to date convinces members to provide their passwords and financial information by charging them with violations of the website’s terms of service, and threatening to delete their accounts.
The phishing scam comes in the form of an email purporting to be from Facebook, and is convincing because it mimics security procedures used by many websites to prevent bad behavior online, or protect from internet trolls. The message, which is of course NOT from Facebook, informs the user that they have violated Facebook policies by insulting or annoying other Facebook members, then asks for personal login and financial information, and parts of their credit card numbers. Users are warned that if they do not comply within 24 hours, their accounts will be deleted.
A post by Lisa Vaas on Sophos NakedSecurity website explained, and warned: “Social media venues would not request financial information, nor would they request login details. The scams are, in fact, designed to steal credit card numbers and social media accounts, likely in order to further spread scams and bilk victims.”
Scammers who are successful in getting the user to reveal their login information then proceed to hijack the Facebook account and lockout its owner, then perpetuate the scam by posing as that user and sending messages on Facebook to that user’s friends. After the scammer has obtained information, they commit identity theft and engage in malicious financial activities.
Hoax-Slayer, a website that has been “debunking email hoaxes and exposing internet scams since 2003” reported that a typical spam message described above looks like this:
Last Warning: Your account is reported to have violated the policies that are considered annoying or insulting Facebook users. Until we system will disable your account within 24 hours if you do not do the reconfirmation.
Please confirm your account below:
The Facebook Team.
Users who click on the link are then taken to a fake web page that shows a Facebook Account Disabled form, where they are directed to hand over their Facebook login, email, password, security question and answer, their country of residence, and the first six digits on their credit card number. The ruse continues if the user complies in voluntarily giving up all of this information – they are then taken to a second “Confirm to your Webmail” where they are expected to type in their webmail address and password then finally to a third fake form labeled “Terms of Service” which again wants the first six digits of the user’s credit card number. Finally, the unwitting victim is warned: “If you ignore this warning, then our security system will block your account automatically.”
Vaas’s post on the latest Facebook scam concludes with this wise advice we all should instinctively follow in this age of the internet: “Stay safe, and don’t click on links from the likes of these spammers.”