Stay Away from Free Giveaways on MJ

New Facebook Scam plays the double bait game: an MJ tribute page hosts three survey scams claiming to reward respondents with free gadgets: iPads and Dell computers.


August 29 is an emotional time for Michael Jackson fans. It’s the star’s birthday and those who loved and admired him will naturally look for a way to express their regret, pay tribute to his memory or even …wish him “happy birthday!” (after all, MJ will always live in their hearts).

As you all know, Facebook scammers are ready to crash any “party” that’s likely to bring together thousands of people. So, here they are, proud creators of the “I love Michael Jackson” Facebook page that’s already lured almost 25,000 people into the trap.

Innocent until proven guilty, say you? That’s right. And if proof is what you need, just take a look at the left hand side column under the page’s profile picture. Exhibit A: “get a free iPad”, Exhibit B: “get a free Dell”. We won’t bother about the “Facebook survey”, as its competition is very much likely to kills its chances of success. We’ll cut the “pick and choose” process even shorter as, given the recent buzz about Steve Jobs’ resignation, iPad sounds very, very good. Social engineering, perhaps. Yeah, maybe a little.

This is a pro job, so you don’t get just any iPad…..first step: pick your color! Excellent. Click on! Do not mind the small print. Really, don’t. It’s just saying that “you agree to receive promotional e-mails and special offers from 3rd parties” and that you must “complete at least 10 Reward Offers” before you get your hands on the coveted prize. Will that stop you? Come on, it’s an iPad, you’ve got to work for it (even if they say it’s free!).

Next step, a nice form, ready to take your personal data for a spin in scammer land. Your full name, your home and e-mail address, your date of birth, plus your cell and phone number….all in one go.

Before you click Continue, you might want to think about what this data is worth to those who collect it and what it might bring you. How about lots of spam e-mails, unsolicited snail mail, targeted ads reaching you via text messages? Enough to keep you busy deleting things for a while. Let’s not forget about the fact that you “Liked” the page, which will probably count as a “go there!” recommendation to your friends.

Word of advice? When you see this kind of “offer that you cannot miss”, in the words of the great MJ: just beat it! Otherwise you’ll be singing “You are not alooooooooone” with your fellow fans who fell for the iPad plus Dell plus who-knows-what-else scam.

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.