While thousands of fans flock to the accident site where Paul Walker and Roger Rodas died on Nov. 30, this year a Facebook scam is making the rounds on the social networking site. Facebook has has already been inundated with information relating to the late actor’s life and death. Tributes from fans have appeared on the sites pages with thousands expressing their heartfelt thoughts about the tragedy.
Most posts deal with his fans’ sorrow, shock and dismay that the popular star will not be in any further Fast & Furious films. There are, however, some individuals who have taken advantage of the increased interest in all things “Paul Walker” and they are using this preoccupation with his passing to post scams on the website.
“Hoax Slayer” claims that there are fake posts on Facebook that offer the chance for the more ghoulish, or just plain curious, to see a “shocking video” that shows the horrific crash that took two men’s lives. With a title that zeros in on the “horrific” video footage, it smacks of a Facebook version of National Enquirer – because enquiring minds want to know – and should be treated with caution.
The posted link that promises to take Paul Walker fans to the video of the accident does not, in fact, lead the curious to any video footage at all. The final destination of the link is a spammy Facebook application that helps to spread the misleading Facebook post to more potential victims via the timeline of those who initially followed the link.
The Paul Walker Facebook scam is just the latest way that spammers have found to either load your computer with malicious software or to garner money from the same unsuspecting victims.
Slayer warns of more versions of the same scam that leads users to a site that will install malicious browser extensions. The final goal of the browser scam is to lead the unwary to a series of surveys. The sites that “run” these surveys pays the scammer a percentage of money each time one of the questionnaires is completed.
Apart from making money, the scammers now have access to your personal information; telephone numbers, cell numbers, address, et al. Just the acquisition of your phone number can lead to the survey participant being subscribed to a premium SMS service guaranteed to pump up your phone bill. Only the most sharp-eyed “customer” will see the fine print carefully concealed at the bottom of the pages. This information does tell the interested that they will be charged for the service and how much it will deplete your piggy bank.
The above mentioned scams are not the only ones running that are capitalizing on Paul Walker’s early and horrific demise. Symantec have reported that there is another scam that uses the publicity of Walker’s death. Literally hours after the fiery death of the Fast & Furious star and his close friend, 38 year-old Roger Rodas, the company spotted a spam campaign that used the words “Paul Walker” in a Word Salad. The Word Salad technique aids spammers in evading some Bayesian filters.
The Paul Walker Facebook scam is just one of many ways that the unscrupulous can make money off of your curiosity. The best advice is to always visit trusted websites in order to slake your need for information about the devastating car crash that took the life of a popular star. As usual, all “unknown” posts on a social media site should be treated with caution. Just imagine a snake and a forked stick and you will be fine.
By Michael Smith