Fake Social Empires Cheat Exposes over 135,000 Facebook Users to Fraud
More than 135,000 Facebook users were exposed to fraud and identity theft, after they clicked the ‘like’ button on a fake Social Empires cheat website. The application is one of the most popular strategy games on Facebook, with more than 6 million monthly active users who are now vulnerable to the scam.
The page recently created on a Blogspot domain spreads massively on the social network from one user to another. Passionate gamers have already `liked’ the web site, also exposing their friends and other users to the scam. The mechanism of the fake cheat is simple and similar to that of other scams, where users become unwilling promoters. After being asked to `like’ the page, Social Empires players are told to copy and post the message on five different fan pages focused on hacking and cheating techniques.
After liking and spreading the scam, game fans are lured to a download button with a fake progress bar that reads “Checking…” Once clicked, the button redirects them to endless surveys such as horoscope and intelligence tests. To spread the scam more efficiently, cyber-crooks are able to “read” computers’ IP addresses and show a message in users’ native language. They also try to lure people with what the scammers apparently believe are the victims’ national interests.
Ironically, the surveys I had to complete were “scanned” with several security suites, including the Bitdefender antivirus. As with other game hacks, cyber-crooks didn’t bother to update our logo, which was changed almost three years ago, as our tech-savvy users know.
We advise users to avoid searching for similar cheats on search engines, because black SEO techniques can easily lead them to malicious results. The fake Social Empires website we found seems to have the cheating solution for several games, offering GTA 5 hacks, Diablo 3 gold hacks and “free” Microsoft and Xbox gift cards. They all come with the price of fraud.
In September, malware writers and fraudsters targeted gamers with fake GTA 5 serials, kits and beta versions.
Users are advised to disregard game copies “accidentally” leaked on the Internet, serials and cheats, as they usually are bait for fraudulent and malicious websites. We also recommend users keep their antivirus, operating system and other software updated, as scammers may want to exploit vulnerabilities on the system. To stay away from Facebook scams and shady applications, users can install the Bitdefender free application Safego, which scans their timeline and alerts them when in danger.
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