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‘Very Important Message’ Facebook Spam

by Brett M. Christensen

Outline

Post circulating via Facebook walls urges users to follow a link to another page and click the publish button in order to read a “very important message”.

Brief Analysis

The messages are spam. Following the link and clicking the publish button posts the message to the user’s own wall. Other links in the posted message lead to dubious Facebook apps or spammy third-party websites.

Example

*** VERY IMPORTANT MESSAGE ***

Please Quickly Click The Blue Publish Button On The Right-Underneath To Read!

[LINK REMOVED]

…MAKE A BACKUP!!!!!!!
[LINK REMOVED] VISIT FACEBOOK STORE!!!!!
[LINK REMOVED]

Facebook Spam Message 1

 

Detailed Analysis

Yet another spam/scam message is currently moving its way around social networking website, Facebook. This one consists of Facebook wall posts that advise readers that they have a “very important message”. In order to read this important message, the user is instructed to follow a link in the post and click the “publish” button on the page that subsequently appears. One such page is shown in the screenshot below:

Facebook Spam Message 2

Clicking the “Envelope” graphic opens the Facebook “Publish” window:

Facebook Spam Message 3

Clicking the “Publish” button will repeat the cycle by posting a new version for the message to your wall. The “payload” of the spam message consists of further links to other suspect web pages. One link opens a dubious Facebook “event” page that advises users to make a backup of all their friends by copying and pasting javascript into the browser address bar. Another link points to a spammy “Facebook store” that supposedly offers heavily discounted mobile phones.

As well as the “Very Important Message” version shown above, another version offers the following:

New message from Facebook. As an experienced facebook user you have been awarded a 25%+ facebook discount Please read the following message: [LINK REMOVED]

The link in the”experienced facebook user” version leads to the same site as that shown in the “Very Important Message” version and performs the same actions.
Facebook spam campaigns similar to the one described here are ongoing. Details of the messages may differ as new spam attacks are implemented. The tactics used by these spammers are many and varied. More and more, Facebook is becoming a favoured vector for all kinds of spam, scams, rumours, innuendo and downright nonsense. Facebook users need to remain vigilant, not only about what links they follow but about what they repost.

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