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Japanese Tsunami ‘Whale into Building’ Clickjacking Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Message posted on Facebook supposedly links to information about a whale smashed into a building by the tsunami in Japan.

Brief Analysis

The message is a scam. The link in the post opens a bogus video website that supposedly hosts footage of the whale. However, attempting to watch the video will try to trick the user into participating in scam surveys, supposedly as part of a “verification” process. Clicking the video will also automatically “like” the page and repost the spam message to other Facebook users.

Example

Japans Tsunami Sends whale Smashing Into A Building

[Link Removed]

Tsunami Whale Facebook Scam

 

Detailed Analysis

A message, which at first glance, may appear to be a news headline about the Japanese earthquake disaster, is currently appearing on user walls all over Facebook. The message proclaims that a whale was smashed into a building by the earthquake-generated tsunami that hit Japan in March 2011.

The post includes a link that supposedly leads to more information about the whale. However, the post does not link to the promised whale footage. Instead, it is just another in a series of very similar clickjacking scams that have recently targeted Facebook users.

The link in the message opens a fake video website that has been designed to look like a Youtube webpage. Once on the page, the user is urged to watch a video that supposedly provides footage of the hapless whale’s encounter with the tsunami. In fact, those who try to watch the “video” are actually clicking a hidden Facebook “Like” button, an action that will automatically repost the scam message to their Facebook walls.

And the victims will then be shown a popup window that claims that they must participate in one or more “surveys” before they can access the video. Those who proceed by following one of the survey links will be presented with a series of “surveys” that may ask them to provide contact details and other personal information. Often, these surveys attempt to trick participants into subscribing to extremely expensive SMS services. By participating, they may also inadvertently give permission for marketing companies to contact them via email, phone or surface mail.

This type of scammer activity, which is known as clickjacking, is becoming more and more common on Facebook. Those responsible for such clickjacking campaigns generally earn a commission whenever a victim participates in one of the bogus surveys or offers. These heartless scammers are very quick to exploit current events such as the Japanese earthquake disaster. They are also apt to capitalize on the popularity – or notoriety – of celebrities such as troubled actor, Charlie Sheen.

Other such scam attempts try to fool users into installing rogue Facebook apps that again direct people to bogus survey sites, supposedly in order to verify their Facebook identity.

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