Circulating ‘breaking news’ Facebook message claims that users can click a teaser image to see a ‘rare’ video footage of a mermaid found inside a shark.
The message is a survey scam. Users who click the link will first be told that they must share the video on Facebook before they can see it. After sharing, they will be redirected to a website that provides various suspect offers and surveys. Eventually, users will be taken to a YouTube video that features an obviously fake ‘mermaid’ washed up on a beach. The teaser image depicts, not a mermaid, but human remains found inside a shark in 2010. Do not click on this fake mermaid message should it come your way.
According to a ‘breaking news’ message currently appearing on Facebook, users can see rare uncut video image of a mermaid body found inside a shark. To view the video, users are invited to click a teaser image of a shark being cut open.
However, not surprisingly, the message does not lead to video footage of a real mermaid. The message is a typical survey scam. People who click the link will be taken to a bogus Facebook Page that appears to host the video. But, when they click the play button, a popup message will inform them that they must first share the message before they can view the video. This tactic ensures that the scam message spreads quickly across Facebook gaining new victims as it travels.
After they have dutifully shared the message as instructed, users will be redirected to a website that promises the chance to win expensive prizes in exchange for filling in surveys or signing up for enticing ‘offers’. The exact website that users are taken to may vary. Some ask people to provide personal information including name, address and contact details, ostensibly to allow them to go in the draw for a prize. 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.
Meanwhile, underneath all the survey and offer pages, a YouTube video will be presented. If users can navigate their way back to this video and play it, they will find that it does not show footage of a mermaid being cut out of a shark. Instead, it shows an obviously fake mermaid sculpture posed among driftwood on a beach.
The teaser image used in the scam message is, in fact, one of a sequence of images that show human remains found inside a shark back in 2010. The image sequence, including the picture used in this scam message can be seen in a September 2010 Business Insider article. (WARNING: The linked article contains graphic images. User discretion is advised).
Do not click this scam message should it appear on your Facebook feed.