Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

Scams to steal your personal information on Facebook are getting insanely clever. Now I like to think of myself as fairly savvy when it comes to these things (this is a consumer protection blog, after all), but even I got nabbed the other week. It was an instant message on Facebook saying “Dude, check this out!” with a video link. I have sent numerous messages like this to others before so I didn’t even think twice before I clicked.

This was followed by two hours of kicking myself while running spyware and antivirus scans.

cybercrimeToday, according to our friends at Mashable.com, there is a new one going around. It seems it will be put into a status update with a message that reads:

“I am part of the 98.0% of people that are NEVER gonna drink Coca Cola again after this HORRIFIC video,” followed by a link.

In order to see the video, you’ll be asked to share it with a minimum number of friends first. But the counter doesn't work, so eventally you're tempted to bypass the sharing by taking a quick survey. The poll asks for personal information.  Meanwhile, all your friends are also clicking "Like," posting links to their friends, answering questions and giving their personal data away.

I guess the best advice I can give is the following:

  • Watch out for EXUBERANT CAPS.
  • Watch out for videos.
  • Be wary of ancillary Facebook friends sending random links.
  • Don’t click on stuff all willy-nilly. Stop and think.

~ Darius Schwarz, AGO Public Affairs Intern

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