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Facebook Gold Account Hoaxes and Scams

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Status updates being passed around on Facebook supposedly provide information about how to gain access to an enhanced version of Facebook called “Facebook Gold”. 

Brief Analysis

There is no such thing as a Facebook Gold account. The Facebook Gold status updates are designed to fool people into joining one of many bogus Facebook groups. In some cases, these groups are nothing more than foolish pranks that waste the time of Facebook users. Other variations attempt to fool members into visiting dubious third party websites or installing invasive Facebook applications. All such Facebook Gold invitations and groups should be ignored.

Examples:

Upgrade your account to Gold today! (beta). Get exclusive content and interact with Upgrade your account to Gold Account to Gold Status

 

Do you want a Facebook Gold account? Are you tired of your boring account? JOIN TODAY!

 

Facebook Gold Hoax Post

Take the photo above and save it to your computer. Upload it to your Facebook account. Make it your profile photo. Now add an Status Update that suggests, “I’ve just signed up for a Facebook Gold Membership!

 

Detailed Analysis

Facebook has again been inundated with bogus status updates, this time in the form of messages that provide information about upgrading to “Facebook Gold”.

Supposedly, Facebook Gold is an enhanced, fee-based, version of the standard Facebook that offers users a series of extra options and features.

However, there is no such thing as a Facebook Gold Account. All messages and groups that claim to provide instructions for upgrading to a Facebook Gold account are bogus and in no way officially endorsed by Facebook management. At the time of writing, Facebook has not announced any plans to release an enhanced version of its service.

Links in these messages generally lead to one of dozens of Facebook groups that supposedly provide instructions for upgrading to a free Facebook Gold account. In some cases, the groups appear to be nothing more than mindless pranks with no real purpose other than to gather members under false pretences. For example, some claim that, in order to upgrade, all the member needs to do is add a “Facebook Gold” logo (See third example above) as their profile picture and update their status to let other Facebook users know about the supposed upgrade.
Other such groups appear to have more sinister motives. In many of the groups, the user is instructed to visit a third party website and fill in a survey, supposedly as a prerequisite to gaining Facebook Gold membership. To complete the survey, the user must submit a mobile phone number, ostensibly in order to view the results of the survey, However, “fine print” terms of service conditions on the survey page note that, by providing a phone number, the visitor is actually signing up to an ongoing twice-weekly SMS service that will be billed at over $6 per message along with an initial joining fee.

Thus, these Facebook Gold groups are nothing more than scams designed to trick users into signing up for dubious and expensive SMS services. Other bogus groups may try to trick users into paying upfront fees or providing sensitive personal information.

Still other groups claim that, in order to gain access to Facebook Gold, users must install a Facebook app that supposedly performs the upgrade. However, reports indicate that this app is nothing more than an invasive promotion tool for the particular group that offers it. Installing such apps will certainly not upgrade your account to Facebook Gold.

All of these bogus groups claim that you must invite all of your friends to join before you will receive your “upgrade”. Because of these tactics, Facebook Gold misinformation has circulated rapidly and continuously around the network. And bogus “Facebook Gold” groups have sprung up like noxious weeds, in some cases gaining hundreds of thousands of members. The fraudulent groups also employ other tactics to make their claims seem more believable. For example, one such group includes what appears to be a series of “Wall” posts complete with a comment box. However, the posts and comment box are actually a static screenshot, not a genuine Facebook wall page. Clicking on the fake comment box just leads the user to the bogus Facebook Gold sign-up page. Not surprisingly, all of the fake “comments” included in the screenshot are designed to fool visitors into believing that the claims on the group are real.

Other widely circulating rumours that falsely claim that Facebook will soon begin charging users for its services have apparently helped to fuel the “Facebook Gold rumours.

Thus, Facebook users should ignore any invitations that claim that they can upgrade to a Facebook Gold account. Do not join any Facebook Gold groups or install any apps that supposedly upgrade your account to Facebook Gold. To reiterate, there is no such thing as a Facebook Gold account and any messages or groups that claim you can get such an account are entirely fraudulent. Like other Internet-based services, Facebook may decide at some point to offer its users an enhanced, fee-based version.

However, if such a service is ever offered, you can rest assured that the company will vigorously promote it via its own official channels, not via vague status updates or fake groups that require users to sign up on dubious third-party websites.



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