Annoyed man receiving scam message on mobile phone
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Facebook Profile Viewer Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Message being spammed across Facebook claims that users can follow a link to install an app that allows them to check who has been viewing their profile.

Brief Analysis

The message is an attempt to trick Facebook users into relinquishing control of their Facebook accounts to Internet scammers by submitting their Facebook authentication token. The scammers will use the compromised accounts to launch further spam and scam campaigns in the names of their victims. Any message that claims that you can install an app to see who has viewed your profile is likely to be a scam. Do not click on any links in these messages.

Example

WOW! I just tried this newest app here and I just f0und 0ut l0ts of users visited my pr0fle this week,h0w ab0ut u d0 u know now ab0ut this newest app? check 0ut n0w wh0 viewed ur pr0file
@[Link removed]

 

Detailed Analysis

This message, which is currently appearing on Facebook, claims that users can check out who has been viewing their Facebook profiles by clicking a link and installing a new app.

However, the message is a scam designed to trick users into temporarily handing control of their Facebook accounts to online scammers. Those who click the link will first be taken to a Facebook page with further “instructions” for procuring the app:

Facebook Profile Viewer Scam 1

If victims follow the link on the page, they will next be taken to a second page that falsely claims that Facebook is now required to show users who has been viewing their profile:

Facebook Profile Viewer Scam 2

Next, victims are taken to a “security check” and told that they must generate an “age verification code” before proceeding:

Facebook Profile Viewer Scam 3

Users will then receive the following instructions:

Facebook Profile Viewer Scam 4

Folllowed by this:Facebook Profile Viewer Scam 5

Alas, by pasting the “age verification” code as instructed, users are in fact giving the scammers access to their Facebook accounts, including their Friends list. The code is the victim’s Facebook authentication token, which can then be used by the criminals to temporarily hijack the Facebook account. The compromised accounts are then used to distribute more of the same scam messages on Facebook.
Meanwhile, victims will be taken onward to various bogus survey pages and enticed to participate, supposedly as a further prerequisite to getting the promised profile viewer app. Some of the “survey” pages ask users to provide personal information including name, address and contact details. Others invite them to download dubious toolbars, games or software. Still others will claim that users must provide their mobile phone number – thereby subscribing to absurdly expensive text messaging services – in order to proceed. In reality, the profile viewer app does not exist.

No matter how many times victims “verify” their age or how many surveys they participate in, they will never get to see who has viewed their profile.

Similar profile viewer scams have targeted Facebook users for several years. Some versions use the promise of a profile viewer to lead victims directly to a scam survey page. Other versions try to trick users into first installing a rogue Facebook application that will send spam and scam messages to all of their friends.

Do not trust any message that claims that you can click a link and install an app to see who has viewed your profile. If you receive such a message, delete it.  

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