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Facebook ‘Account Verification’ Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Message purporting to be from the “Facebook Verification Team” claims that users must verify their profiles by March 15th 2014 to comply with the SOPA and PIPA Act.

Brief Analysis

The message is a scam and not from any official Facebook Verification Team. Those who follow the link will be tricked into installing a rogue Facebook app and participating in bogus online surveys. Some variants may attempt to trick users into divulging their Facebook email address and password to criminals.

Example

Warning: Announcement from Facebook Verification Team:
All profiles must be verified before 15th March 2014 to
avoid scams under SOPA and PIPA Act.

Verify your Account by steps below

Invite your friends.

Facebook account verification scam

 

Detailed Analysis

According to a message currently moving around Facebook, all users must verify their profiles by March 15th 2014 in order to comply with the SOPA and PIPA Act. The message, which comes in the form of a graphic, claims to be an announcement from the “Facebook Verification Team”.  Users are instructed to click an “Invite your Friends” button to begin the verification process.

However, the message is not an official Facebook notification and the claim that users must verify their accounts by March 15th is untrue.

Users who fall for the ruse and click the button will first be asked to give a Facebook application permission to access their details. Once installed, this rogue app will spam out more fake messages in the name of the user.

Victims will then be taken to another fake page where they are again told that they must verify their account by clicking a further link. However, clicking the link takes them to various survey pages or tries to entice them to sign up for online games.

Many of the surveys claim that users must provide their mobile phone number to enter in a prize draw. But, by giving out their number, users are actually signing up for very expensive SMS “subscriptions” charged at several dollars per message sent.  Other surveys may ask victims to provide personal and contact information that will later be shared with third parties and used to inundate them with junk mail, emails, phone calls and text messages.

The scammers responsible for the bogus “verification” messages will earn commissions via dodgy affiliate marketing systems each and every time a person participates in a survey or provides their personal information in an online “offer”.

Reports indicate that some versions of the scam may try to trick victims into divulging their account login details to criminals. The criminals can then hijack the compromised accounts and use them to distribute further scam messages.

The scam is a reincarnation of an almost identical “verification” scam campaign from June 2012. And, in May 2013, another variant of the scam claimed that Facebook fan page owners were required to verify their accounts.

Facebook would never require users to verify their accounts by installing an app or participating in online surveys. If you receive one of these bogus messages, do not click on any links that it contains.

Importance Notice

After considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.

These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.

Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.

And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.

When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.

I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.

A Big Thank You

I would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.

I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.

Closing Date

Hoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.

Thank you, one and all!

Brett Christensen,
Hoax-Slayer