Scammers are attempting to panic people into divulging their Facebook login details by implying that family or friends may have been killed or injured.
A fake “breaking news” post currently appearing on Facebook supposedly reports an incident in which many lives have been lost. The message urges you to click to check a list of the victims in case your neighbours or members of your family have been involved.
The post does not specifically identify the location of the supposed incident but instead relies on people assuming that it took place in their own area. It uses generic wording such as “in the area” and “in the city” rather than naming a place.
Here’s a screenshot of the scam post:
If you click on the post, you will be taken to a website that appears to contain a news story about the incident described. However, before you are able to read anything on the page, you will be redirected to another webpage that looks like it is associated with Facebook.
The Page, which features a logo stolen from a legitimate news agency, invites you to click a button to view a list of victims. It includes the following message.
If you have friends or family who live in the area, we advise you to check this list immediately.
As with the post, the site does not name a location but relies on visitors assuming that the event applies to their area.
Clicking the “View list” button opens a second page that claims that you must provide your Facebook login details to see the content.
If you do provide your login information, you will be redirected to a genuine news website.
Meanwhile, the crooks can collect the information you entered and use it to hijack your Facebook account. Once they have gained access, they can use your account to distribute scam and spam posts and private messages in your name. Your Facebook friends will assume you posted the content. The scammers may also lock you out of your account. It can often be very difficult to regain control of your Facebook account once it has been hijacked.
This nasty scam preys on people’s natural concern by tricking them into thinking that loved ones may have been killed or injured. The scammers hope that people will click through to view the supposed list without due caution.
In reality, authorities would be very unlikely to publish a list of victims before families had been officially notified. Moreover, if the incident was real, you would not need to provide your Facebook login credentials to view news reports about it. And, of course, any genuine news report about such an incident would specifically identify its location.
The image used in the fake breaking news post was stolen from a 2018 news story about an accident involving a pedestrian. Note that the stolen news logo used on the scam website and the news site you are taken to after logging in may vary based on your location.
If this post comes your way, do not click on it. If you feel concerned that there may have really been an incident in your area like the one described, a quick search of an online news portal such as Google News should provide the information you require.
Criminals are using the same scam website in another Facebook phishing scam that falsely claims that you can view a list of people who have visited your Facebook Profile.
Transcript of the scam post:
Breaking News: If You Have Family or Neighbors In The Area, Check this List!
Sad news!! If you have family or neighbors in the city, you should check the list of victims. The drama has claimed many lives and the police are looking for the families of the victims.
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!