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Theme Park Accident Phishing and Survey Scam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Circulating Facebook message claims that a fatal roller coaster accident has occurred at a large theme park and provides a link to video footage of the accident.

Brief Analysis

The message is a scam. The accident described did not happen and there is no video. The link in the scam message opens a phishing page that attempts to trick users into providing their Facebook login details. Those who do login on the fake site will then be told that they must fill in various surveys before they can view the supposed video. If this message comes your way, do not click on any links that it contains.

Example

OMG!!! Leaked CCTV video caught the accident in Universal Studios Theme Park in Orland, Florida. It shows that 16 people already dead after the roller coaster was departed from the rails and crashed into the ground. There are 24 passengers all in all, 16 dead and 8 are in critical condition. This video will not be televised on air as requested of the family for privacy. Please continue with discretion. Watch this video here: [Link removed]

 

Detailed Analysis

A message that is currently being distributed on Facebook claims that a terrible accident has occurred at a large US theme park in which 16 people were killed and several more badly injured. According to the post, a roller coaster carriage ‘departed from the rails’ and crashed to the ground. It further claims that people can click a link to view a video of the accident, noting that the footage will not be televised to respect the privacy of family members.

The message is a scam. No such accident has occurred and the promised video does not exist. At first glance, this message might seem like a typical ‘shocking video’ scam attempt. However, this one has an extra sting in its tail.

Users who do click the link in the hope of seeing the accident footage will first be taken to a fake Facebook page and asked to login with their account email address and password. To make the login request seem more legitimate, a message on the fake page will claim that an email address entered ‘does not belong to any account’. Thinking that an error has occurred, some users may enter their Facebook login details as requested.

Thus, the scammer can subsequently use the stolen login details to hijack Facebook accounts belonging to their victims. The scammers can then use the hijacked accounts to send out further spam and scam messages, all in the names of their victims.

Moreover, the phishing attack is only part one of the scam. After they have supplied their login details on the fake page, victims will then be redirected to another fake page that supposedly hosts the promised video. But, a popup window will inform them that they must first verify their age by participating in an online survey hosted on a third-party website.

The survey page will promise users the chance to win prizes in exchange for providing their mobile phone number, an act that will actually subscribe them to absurdly expensive SMS subscription services. Or, they may be asked to provide personal information as part of an offer. This information may later be sold to online marketing outfits and used to bombard victims with unwanted and annoying emails, surface mail, text messages and phone calls.

The scammers responsible for these fake videos earn commissions via dodgy affiliate marketing schemes whenever a user participates in a survey.

And, even if they continue to fill in more and more surveys, the supposed video will never be ‘unlocked’.

These scam messages take many forms. Facebook users should be very cautious of clicking links in messages that promise them expensive prizes or ‘shocking’ video footage of accidents, giant animals or celebrity deaths. If one of these messages comes your way, do not click on any links it contains. And please take a moment to let the poster know that the message is a scam.

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