Facebook, Twitter and all other social media networks are a gold mine for scammers and hackers which want to lure unaware internet users to websites which promise the ‘victims’ that they have a chance of winning a ‘Free iPhone’ or a ‘free car’. The scammers and cyber criminals are aware of the fact that those type of items are wanted by a lot of people and with that knowledge they setup online and offline environments which will ‘exploit’ the victims from their money, personal information and identity.
The cyber criminals and scammers which are ‘exploiting’ people online are never done, they will continue to exploit their victims and the environments of the victims to increase their earnings.
So now position yourself in the shoes of a cyber criminal that is performing these type of attacks. The cyber criminal will target adults (55+) and young people as they know that they will have money to spend.
The first thing they will search is an item which is wanted by a lot of people. The Apple devices ‘iPhone’ and ‘iPad’ are wanted by all ages, so it is not strange that they will select an item like the ‘iPad’ or ‘iPhone’.
The second thing the cyber criminal or scammer will do is the selection of the environment which will be targeted. The cyber criminals often choose to target multiple environments at once, so if you see a ‘Free iPhone’ scam on Facebook, the chance is very high that the same scam will be active on Twitter and other social media networks.
Now that the cyber criminal knows which environment is going to be targeted, the cyber criminal will create fake online environment which will imitate legitimate looking websites like BBC, Facebook and Twitter.
Once the environment has been setup, the cyber criminal will start spreading the ‘Free iPhone scams’ and ‘Free giveaway scams’ on social media networks which have a big reach.
The chance is also there that the cyber criminals will setup fake pages on Facebook which imitate official Facebook pages.
How the cyber criminals earn money
The cyber criminals and scammers host these malicious environments to generate an online revenue. They often do it by including advertisements on their malicious pages, but once the revenue from the advertisements is not enough, they will continue to use:
- malicious surveys
- affiliate programs of malicious environments
- Malware which is installed on the victims device
- Money generating url shorteners
- The cyber criminals continue to create an revenue from the infected device. They can use the infected device to mine for bitcoins but it is not just limited to bitcoin mining.
- They can sell the stolen financial information on criminal markets which operate online.
- They can blackmail the victim by claiming that they will leak information (Ashley Madison)
And much much more, the simply own the device and they can penetrate deeper in the network if they are advanced cyber criminals.
STOP SCARING ME: HOW CAN I PROTECT MYSELF
Well the first thing which is important, is the fact to be aware of these type of scams and dangers which are active on the internet, but I have a strong feeling that you are aware.
You can identify them by:
Looking for the contact details of the ‘Free Iphone’ or ‘Giveaway’ post, if the contact details are easily found, then the chance has increased that you are dealing with a genuine promotion.
Check with the company which claims that they are giving away a “Free iPhone” or “car”. Use the contact information which you can find on the genuine website of the company and inform them about the event which you have seen. You can also provide them the contact details which you have collected in step one to verify if you are dealing with a genuine promotion.
A like and a share cannot do any harm as long as the content is hosted on the official Facebook.com or social media domain. Once the content redirects the user to an external website, the chance is very high that you are dealing with a fake ‘free iPhone’ promotion.
Remembering the golden rule of life that nothing is free in the material world. If someone is going to give you something for “Free” the chance is very high that you (your data) are the product.
Would you give your personal information to a stranger on the street?
Another thing is this simple view. If you are on the streets, and someone moves towards you and asks you for your personal information by claiming that you can win a ‘free iPhone’ or ‘free BMW’ after he has listed down 100000 people, would you agree to those terms? The same thing happens on the internet when someone claims that you can win something for free or that you are the “selected” winner.
Stay safe all. HUGS.