Social Networks

May I Pinterest You in a Scam?

Scammers hit the Pinterest crowd, Facebook style: fake gift card rides to the quiz maze

Let’s do it differently this time and start off with the big picture.

Anything strange about it? No? Look again. A whole lot of gift card pins there to tell you that this, indeed, may be an offer you don’t want to miss. Zoom in, and you come face to face with the wonder:

The nice thing here is that Pinterest combines Facebook and Twitter characteristics so that you access this kind of message even if the person spreading the word about it is not on your Follow list (case in point above). Therefore, while scams reach your Facebook account exclusively via friends and friends of friends, everything’s visible to everyone on Pinterest, which literally works like a board on which you pin stuff. The Twitter side of Pinterest refers to your ability to Follow anyone, without explicitly asking for the respective persons’ permission so that your Pins will appear featured on their boards. Big potential for scam spreading here as well.

Adding that Pinterest is basically a repository of visual elements, there’s no need for elaborate social engineering tactics or carefully crafted word-based baits on this side of the social sharing universe. Scam heaven, indeed!

Back to our beauty. Click the link attached to the photo and there’s your deja-vu redoubled:

Instead of begging for a Share or a cohort of Likes, they want your Pin. Pin it before you even know whether it works! Just what the doctor ordered.

To end this tempestuous love affair with a scammy Pin, let’s just click the link to claim the card:

This is like the Purgatory in Dante’s Inferno. One step away from the never ending quiz hell (next time, who knows what this page my carry  instead of the time wasting but harmless quizz? Malware, you say?). The end of a pinteresting journey.

So, what’s next? Aside from a myriad of fake gift card Pins exploiting the names of popular brands (as seen on Facebook)…..perhaps a See who viewed your Board (i.e.Profile in Pinterest land) or even Change your Board color. How about a nice leaked sex tape Pin?

This article is based on the technical information provided courtesy of Tudor Florescu, BitDefender Online Threats Analyst.

All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.

About the author

Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia. From gory, though sometimes fake, death reports to nip slips and other such blush-inducing accidents, her repertoire is an ever-expanding manifesto against any Victorian-like frame of thought that puts a strain on online creativity. She would like to keep things simple, but she never does.