This week saw the return of two Facebook hoaxes. Hoaxes are a regular occurrence on Facebook these days because the bad guys know that a percentage of users always seem to fall for them. One of the current hoaxes prey on the privacy fears that everyone has with Facebook, while the other works on offering something for nothing. In both cases, they notices come off sounding official but as the saying goes “If its to good to be true…….”.
The Facebook Gold Membership
This (NOT) “Official Communications Media” message claims that Facebook will start charging users $9.99 (or some variation of that) for users to become “Gold Members”. In some versions of the message, it is claimed that anyone who doesn’t become “Gold’” will have their information (Posts, Pictures, even deleted items) made public, and the message even reinforces this by saying “It was even on the news”.
To start with, THIS IS FALSE!!! No Facebook is not going to be charging. If they ever announce a change like the one in the message, you cab be assured that every news broadcast would be talking about it (over and over). Also keep in mind, the business model for Facebook is advertising, not fees. Considering how many other “Free” choices in Social Media exist, charging customers for social media would surely cost them more money than it would make them.
At least in the case of this message, if you fall for (share) the message, all you are doing is filling your friends News Feeds.
Get 2 Free Airline Tickets
Truth is that everyone wishes they could go on vacation at some point. However, with the economic issues that most people are facing these days not everyone can afford to go on vacation. This hoax uses people’s wish of a “freebie” to try to trick people into falling for it.
Once you click on the link to this hoax, you will find a couple of steps that will ask you to
- Create a certificate
- Copy a link from a pop up into your browser
- Paste the code from the certificate you created into the window that appears
(http://facecrooks NULL.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/free_southwest_airlines_tickets_special_offer NULL.jpg)
Where do we start with this one. NEVER NEVER NEVER copy strange links like the steps suggest because on those links, they could add information to bypass various security measures that are built into your browser and your computer. The BIGGEST RISK with this hoax is that it can (and variations in the past have done it) be used to infect your pc with malware. Even if the link doesn’t infect your pc, don’t start planning your travel just yet.
Here is a list of just some of the requirement (and what they actually mean)
- SUMMARY OF PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS (So this isn’t a giveaway)
- Must have a valid email (selling valid email addresses make us money)
- Eligible members can receive the incentive gift package by completing one reward offer from the Silver reward offer page options, two offers from the Gold reward offer page options and nine reward offers from the Platinum reward offer page options and refer 3 friends to do the same (By the time you buy the 12 items (offers) from them and get 3 people you know to each buy 12 items (offers) from them, you will have paid much more the tickets are worth and probably have 3 fewer people speaking to you)
- Completion of reward offers requires a purchase or filing a credit application and being accepted for a financial product such as a credit card or consumer loan (So not only will you have to buy things, you may have to give an unknown site of questionable reputation, your credit card information. REALLY, under the best case scenario, that’s just STUPID!)
- Your information will be shared with our marketing partners. (LOTS OF SPAM)
It doesn’t look like (based on the pages I did visit), that this is anything more than what I grew up knowing as “Bait and Switch”. With that being said, I can’t speak of the company behind this promotion, but I would not advise having anything to do with them. If you see the “Free Airline Tickets” (or any other hoax) post on your Facebook page, I would ask for you to delete it, and to inform whomever tagged you with the offer that they should look at their page and remove that post as well.
*The Southwest Airlines Congratulations picture courtesy of Facecrooks (http://facecrooks NULL.com/Scam-Watch/get-2-free-southwest-tickets-for-a-limited-time-only-facebook-scam NULL.html)