While many people have learned to not trust suspicious emails that they may receive, regardless of whether it looks like it’s from a friend or not, the same level of mistrust is not inherent on social media sites like Facebook. Since people believe the site is a place to communicate with their friends, they trust that what they see posted from their friends is legitimate. Scammers have been preying on that trust and have now used the tragedy in Oslo to further their attacks.
According to computer security company Sophos, attackers are taking advantage of the bombings in Oslo by pretending to post videos of the explosions on Facebook and asking users to click to watch. Instead of being presented with the video, users are prompted to fill out a survey and take an IQ test. At the end, they are requested to provide their mobile phone number and are then charged two dollars per quiz question that is sent to the phone. In addition to the fraudulent charges, the scam also automatically posts the video to the victim's friends on Facebook.
This sort of scam seems to occur whenever a big news story hits; it occurred after the killing of Osama bin Laden and again after the acquittal of Casey Anthony. Although software can help protect against some of these attacks, many require the user to employ some common sense. In this case, why would a user need to complete an IQ test and enter their mobile number to watch a video? Unfortunately, just like selling products via spam, the scammers only need a small number of people to fall for the attack in order to make it profitable.
Image Courtesy of Sophos.com