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'Free iPad' scam spreading on Facebook and Twitter, warns Sophos | Cintaabadi.com
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News - it-stuff
Written by mangthjik riche   
Thursday, 04 March 2010 13:16
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It's a day for scams. Think you've been given the chance to sign up as an iPad tester via Facebook? No you haven't - it's a scam which actually signs you up to a premium rate mobile service, warns the security company Sophos.

"Facebook pages with names such as "iPad Researchers Wanted - Get An iPad Early And Keep It!" and "The Mega iPad Giveaway!" prey on the public's desire to own a free iPad," notes Sophos.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, has explained the scam on his blog.

Here's how it works. The scam pages typically take their intended victims through a three step process:
1) "Become a Fan" of the page; 2) "Invite your friends" to also become fans of the page, and take part in the "special promotion" [they might not stay your friends for that long afterwards - CA]; 3) "Claim" or "Apply" for your prize.

Some of the pages pretend to have thousands of positive comments from other Facebook users claiming that the offer is genuine, Sophos notes. And it's also running on Twitter - so beware there of people or accounts offering "Free Apple iPad!" or similar. (The key, among other points, is that Apple hasn't actually begun selling the iPad yet: it won't do that until April.)

When the victim applies for the prize they are typically taken to an online quiz, and their mobile phone number is requested so they can be sent the results.

"As if inviting all of your friends to participate in a scheme that you haven't properly investigated wasn't bad enough, the biggest mistake of all is to hand over your mobile phone number," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "You will be signed up for a premium rate service, costing you in the region of $10 every week, until you unsubscribe. The scammers who created the fake iPad Facebook pages are undoubtedly skimming off some of this money by bringing new unwitting subscribers to the cellphone service."

Cluley notes: "The good news is that after I alerted Facebook's security team about this page they disabled it very promptly. However, the bad news is that there are many other similar Facebook pages being created on the social network designed to scam unsuspecting users.

"Not all of them pretend to offer an iPad, so be on your guard for other scams too. The most important thing to remember is to not invite your friends to any Facebook page or application until you have thoroughly researched what it's about. Furthermore, you should never be tempted to hand over your mobile phone number to some daft internet quiz."

There's also a video showing how the scam works. The lesson: be wary. And stop wanting free stuff. There's always a price to pay.


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