Unknown species Facebook Scam
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‘New Unknown Species’ Facebook Video Survey Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Post being shared on Facebook claims that a new unknown species has been discovered in Africa and invites you to click an image of the creature to see video footage. 

Brief Analysis

The post is a scam designed to trick you into submitting your personal information on dodgy survey websites. The picture depicting the supposed ‘unknown species’ actually shows a sculpture by artist Patricia Piccinini.

Example

New Unknown Species discovered in Africa

Footage of a strange species newly discovered deep in Botswana’s wilderness by a conservation officer.

Unknown Species Facebook Scam Post

 

Detailed Analysis

Post Promises Video Of ‘Unknown Species’ Discovered in Africa

According to this post, which is currently being shared across Facebook, a new unknown species has been discovered in Africa. Supposedly, you can click a teaser image to view footage of a ‘strange species newly discovered deep in Botswana’s wilderness by a conservation officer’.

The teaser image depicts a rather bizarre-looking mother creature with its babies.

Post is a Survey Scam – Image Depicts a Sculpture

However, the post is a typical video survey scam. Clicking the picture takes you to a fake Facebook page that appears to host the video.

When you click the ‘play’ button on the video, a pop-up window will claim that you must share the page on Facebook before the footage will play.

After you share as instructed, a ‘Content Warning’ popup will appear that claims that you must click one of several available links to verify your age before you see the video. The links open various third-party survey websites that ask you to provide your name and contact details, ostensibly so you can go in the draw for various prizes.
But, fine print on the pages will state that your information will be shared with third-party marketers. Thus, you may soon begin receiving unwanted and annoying marketing phone calls, emails, and surface letters.

In some versions, you may be asked to supply your mobile phone number. However, by supplying the number you will actually be subscribing to a very expensive text message ‘service’ that will charge you several dollars for each message sent to you.

Meanwhile, the people operating the scam will earn a commission each time a user participates in a survey.

And, no matter how many surveys you fill in, you will never get to see the promised video.

Be wary of any Facebook post that claims that you can see shocking or unusual footage by clicking a link, sharing, and participating in online surveys.

So, what IS the strange creature shown in the scam post image? In fact, the image depicts a sculpture called ‘The Young Family’ created by artist Patricia Piccinini. The same image has circulated in other contexts for several years.



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