Facebook Video Scams: How Scammers Bait

What are Facebook video scams?

CC0 Image by Broadmark / Pixabay

Scammers and hackers love to target social media websites because of the high potential of payoff. Networks, such as Facebook, are favored targets because of the mass audiences that can potentially fall for the scam. With over 1 billion members, even if a small percentage click a link, the payoff for fraudsters is pretty significant.

In recent years, Facebook video scams have emerged as a problem. What scammers do is post links that claim to be videos, but are really clickjacking scams. Instead of leading the reader to a promised video, members are led to external websites which are fraudulent and, to further spread the scam, the link is shared with everyone on a Facebook friend list as a recommended video to watch.

The bait scammers use are generally worded in such a way the post is alluring enough to get users’ attention and subsequently click the link.

Some techniques often used:

  • The shocking video. Fraudsters rely on sensationalism to convince users to click, creating titles that are outrageous or funny, hoping someone might be curious enough to click. Earlier scams include the “World’s funniest condom commercial”, “live sex tapes”, “spiders under skin” and “Photographer committed SUICIDE 3 days after shooting THIS video!” Social engineering, perhaps at its finest.
  • Current events. Current events are another lure that scammers often use to convince users to click links on Facebook. Links purportedly lead to a video, but this is seldom the case. Previous news event bait included alleged videos of Osama bin Laden’s death, Casey Anthony’s “confession”, Amy Winehouse’s last hours and the tragic shooting in Norway.  Always best to look to the media, if the clips appearing in a Facebook feed are real, they’ll be reporting it.
  • Look what he/she did. Often people, including celebrities, are frequently targets of clickjack scams which promise to show videos of the individual in action. Celebrities Emma Watson and Miley Cyrus were used as bait in earlier scams. Other scams include anonymous males or female doing something outrageous, such as the “Everyone do check what she did on cam…” and “Dad walks in on Daughter..EMBARRASSING! This really must have been an awkward moment.”  

Unfortunately, these clickjack video scams are becoming exceedingly prominent on the network to the point it is very problematic. Faux sites generally either lead the individual to malware (i.e. telling people their flash is out of date and they need to update),  or a survey in which the scammer gets paid.

Either outcome, the user is never shown the promised video and instead has been scammed. Facebook has gotten a lot better about stopping these, but in general, scams on the network will probably continue to crop up.

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