Circulating Facebook message claims that the world’s largest snake has been found in Mexico and invites users to click a link to view a video of the beast.
The link in the message leads to a fake Facebook page that first tricks users into sharing the message on Facebook and then tries to get them to participate in suspect online surveys. No matter how many times users share or how many surveys they participate in they will never see the promised video. The giant snake image is clearly the result of digital manipulation. The image is included in a popular YouTube video that features a succession of “giant” snakes and it also circulates in various other contexts.
A message currently being distributed across Facebook claims that the world’s largest snake has been found in Mexico. The message links to a video that supposedly shows the giant snake. The message also includes a picture depicting a man crouched beside a massive snake.
However, the message is a survey scam. Those who click the link in the hope of viewing footage of the giant snake will be taken to a fake Facebook page that includes an embedded video and information about the supposed snake.
However, if users click on the video “Play” button, they are told that they must share the page before they can view the video:
After users have shared the page as instructed, they will be told that the video is set to “Adult” so they must fill in one or more surveys as an “age verification”
Users will then be drawn into a morass of dubious online surveys that promise various prizes for participation. Many of the surveys require users to provide their mobile phone number as a condition of entry. But, by giving out their number, users are actually signing up for very expensive sms “subscriptions”. Other surveys may ask victims to provide personal and contact information that will later be shared with third parties and used to bombard them with unwanted and annoying junk mail, emails, phone calls and text messages.
And, the scammers who set up the fake video page will earn commissions via dodgy affiliate marketing systems each and every time a person participates in a survey or provides their personal information in an online “offer”.
But, alas, no matter how many surveys or offers users complete, they will never get to see the promised video.
The image of the supposed giant snake is clearly the result of digital tomfoolery. It is likely that a picture of a normal size snake was incorporated into the image of the crouching man to make the snake look gigantic. The same giant snake image has circulated in various other formats and is also included in a YouTube video depicting many different “giant snakes”.