“Breaking News” message being pushed out across Facebook claims that a salacious video of Miley Cyrus has been leaked on the Internet and invites users to click a link to view the footage.
The message is a scam designed to trick users into handing access to their Facebook accounts to cybercrooks and participating in bogus online surveys. Regardless of how many surveys they fill out, victims will never see the supposed video. And, the compromised Facebook accounts will be used to flood Facebook with even more scam messages.
A message purporting to be “Breaking news” about actress and singer Miley Cyrus is currently being spammed out across Facebook. The messages claim that a compromising Miley Cyrus video has been leaked on the Internet and that millions of men have called in sick after viewing it. A link included in the message invites viewers to watch the supposed tape.
However, the message is a criminal ruse that attempts to trick users into providing scammers with access to their Facebook accounts before enticing them into participating in bogus online surveys. Those who fall for the ruse and click the link in the hope of seeing the tape will be taken to a page that displays what appears to be a typical video player:
Those who proceed to click the “Play” button will next be taken to a page that claims they must verify their age before proceeding. The page instructs users to copy a “verification” code from the Facebook account address bar and then paste it into the field provided on the fake page:
But, by pasting in the “verification” code, the hapless user is, in fact, giving the scammers access to his or her Facebook account.
BidDefender’s HotforSecurity blog explains that the “verification code” is actually the victim’s Facebook authentication token, which can then be used by the criminals to temporarily hijack the Facebook account. The hijacked accounts will then be used to automatically blast out more scam messages just like the one shown above.
Meanwhile, after engaging in the utterly bogus age verification process, victims will be moved forward into a typical survey scam. They will be told they must complete a survey or offer before finally seeing the video.
Some of the “survey” pages ask users to provide personal information including name, address and contact details, ostensibly to allow them to go into the draw for a prize.
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 get the results of a survey or go in the running for a prize.
Alas, no matter how many surveys they complete, they will never get to see the promised Miley Cyrus video they have been so anticipating. And, embarrassingly for the victims, all of their Facebook friends will be tagged in the scam messages blasted out by their accounts and know exactly what they were clicking on.
Miley and other celebrities have been used as bait in many similar spam attacks in the past. Be wary of any message that claims that you can read breaking news or see salacious video footage of a celebrity by clicking a link in an email or social media post. This is a common scammer ruse.
Importance NoticeAfter 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 YouI 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 DateHoax-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!