Scammers Ditch Taylor Swift and Disneyland from Top 10 Facebook Baits
American singer and actress Taylor Swift has lost her scam ‘mojo’, as her fake sex tape spreading on Facebook was excluded from the top ten most successful scam baits, according to Bitdefender. An analysis by the antivirus software provider revealed the celebrity is no longer as popular as last year, when bogus videos of her managed to spread malware on the social network. Millions of users fall for Facebook scams every year. The Bitdefender story was also featured by The Guardian.
While Taylor Swift left the scam parade, Rihanna continues to be the most tempting celebrity used as a “hook” for malware delivery via social media.
The “free” trip to Disneyland was also excluded from the list, while “guess who viewed your profile” scams keep a steady first place in the panel, comprising almost one third of the total. In July last year, ‘free Disney tickets’ outclassed the ‘profile stalkers’, after tricking tens of thousands of victims.
“Why do people still want to see who has been taking a peek at their profile, despite all security warnings?” Bitdefender Chief Security Strategist Catalin Cosoi said. “I think they believe these are legitimate apps… This is social engineering at its finest – a challenging mental game that pushes the right psychological buttons. The baits have changed in time – stalkers, peekers, admirers, overly attached girlfriends and exes haunting you, but the reason why this scam works is simple: human nature.”
Novelties in the top ten most successful scams lure users with free Facebook T-shirts (4.21 per cent). Fans aspiring for branded clothes end up filling fraudulent surveys or installing malicious add-ons that mine their sensitive data. Other newcomers include scams which lure users with unsealed giveaways (2.41 per cent).
The past couple of years have seen a proliferation of Facebook scams to parallel the social networking platform’s growth. Here are the ten most widespread in a list that also shows their proportions and targeted countries.
TOP 10 FACEBOOK SCAMS
1. Total profile views/visitors (Check out now who viewed your profile) – 30.20% (US/UK, Australia)
2. Change your Facebook Color/Colour – 7.38% (US/UK, Australia)
3. Rihanna sex tape with her boyfriend – 4.76% (US/UK, Australia)
4. Check my status update to get free Facebook T-shirt from Facebook – 4.21% (US/UK, Australia)
5. Say goodbye to Blue Facebook (Dites Aurevoir au Facebok BLEU) – 2.76% (France)
6. Unsealed. We are giving them away for free – 2.41% (US/UK, Australia)
7. Check if a friend has deleted you – 2.27% (US/UK, Australia)
8. See your top 10 profile peekers here! You will be shocked to find out your ex is still creeping on your profile! – 1.74% (US/UK, Australia)
9. Find out how to see who viewed your profile (Encontré la manera de ver quien ve mí perfil. No sabes las sorpresas!) – 1.55% (Spanish-speaking countries)
10. Just changed my Facebook theme. It’s amazing – 1.50% (US/UK, Australia)
Others: 41.22% (US/UK, Australia, Germany, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, China)
Bitdefender research also shows an increasing amount of viral video scams abusing Facebook’s like and share options. In the last year, fraudulent websites that use likejacking and YouTube have spread not only in English, but also in German, Chinese, and Italian.
To avoid security detection, scammers may use special characters and numbers. A popular variant of the “top profile viewers” scam attracts new victims with the “Check 0ut n0w wh0 viewed ur profile” message.
A Bitdefender study released in May 2013 showed almost a quarter of scams on Facebook offered users a bogus method to see who has viewed their profile. Based on six months of research, the study also revealed Rihanna and Taylor Swift were the celebrity names most used by scammers in the first half of the year.
The studies were based on data from the Bitdefender Safego tool, a free Facebook app that scans timelines and alerts users in case of malicious and fraudulent posts. For more information about protecting your social media accounts, you may also check Bitdefender’s dedicated security guide.
All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.
This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Bitdefender Online Threats Researcher Andrei SERBANOIU.