Free farm cash from Zynga? No, it's another viral Facebook scam

Filed Under: Facebook, Rogue applications, Social networks, Spam

Scams continue to be a nuisance on Facebook, with the latest posing as a way to get free cash for your farm in the popular online game FarmVille.

If you've seen messages like the following, don't click on the link:

Whohoooooo..... Zynga team gave me 310 Farm Cash absolutely free YES FREE for Christmas bonus..this is so damn COOL..! They are really giving 310 farm cash bonus but for a Very short time ...This OFFER WOULD LAST AN HOUR OR TWO ONLY ...Hurry !..Get yours asap . Here on their link

Whohoooooo..... Zynga team gave me 310 Farm Cash absolutely free YES FREE for Christmas bonus..this is so damn COOL..! They are really giving 310 farm cash bonus but for a Very short time ...This OFFER WOULD LAST AN HOUR OR TWO ONLY ...Hurry !..Get yours asap . Here on their link - [LINK] Be quick !

The offer describes itself as the "310 FV Cash Christmas Offer [Zynga Official]", but there's nothing official about this offer and it didn't originate from FarmVille's developers.

If you did make the mistake of clicking on the link, however, you find yourself taken to a webpage that certainly presents itself as though it is connected with FarmVille.

FarmVille offer

Which, in turn, invites you to grant permission to a third party application to gain access to your Facebook profile.

Farm cash application request

Agreeing to this would be a mistake that plays straight into the hands of the scammers, as it gives them the ability to access parts of your Facebook profile - including the ability to post messages as though they come from you. In this way, they invite others to click on the link (your friends may be more tempted if they see "you" talking about the free FarmVille cash), and so on..

Farm Cash newsfeed update

Here you can see other wording used in the scam, designed to trick your online friends that this really is an official Zynga-endorsed offer:

GREAT NEWS! Zynga team gave me 310 Farm Cash absolutely free YES FREE for Christmas bonus..this is so damn COOL..! They are really giving 310 farm cash bonus but for a Very short time ...its a LIMITED TIME OFFER for FEW HOURS ONLY ...Hurry !..Get yours asap . Here on their link [LINK] BE FAST else you would loose a golden chance !

Be as quick as possible else you would loose a golden opportunity of getting free 310 Fv cash .
Greetings ! We the official team of Zynga Team is giving 310 Farmville cash bonus absolutely free on account of Christmas Celebration . This offer is limited FOR FEW HOURS ONLY so grab yours as soon as possible.Merry Christmas . Zynga Team Ltd.

So, why are the scammers doing this? Well, it appears that as usual they were attempting to drive traffic to a revenue-generating survey.

However, when I checked the scam out it appeared that their attempts to host code at the 123ContactForm service had flopped, as administrators there had replaced it with a warning that their terms of service had been breached.

Message on 123ContactForm website

Nevertheless, that isn't enough for the message to stop spreading rapidly across Facebook.

Don't allow scams like this to pollute your Facebook page - always think twice before clicking on links, even if they seem to have been shared with you by your online Facebook friends.

In particular, you should always be suspicious whenever a third party application requires to access their profile without a legitimate reason.

If you've been hit by a scam like this, remove references to it from your newsfeed, and revoke the right of rogue applications to access your profile via Account/ Privacy Settings/ Applications and Websites.

Don't forget to spread the word, warning your friends about scams like this and teach them not to trust every link that is placed in front of them. Learn more about Facebook and internet security threats by joining the thriving community on the Sophos Facebook page.

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4 Responses to Free farm cash from Zynga? No, it's another viral Facebook scam

  1. There is also a Facebook ad for this scam (valid as of last week)... Beware!

  2. Chris · 1354 days ago

    Scams that claim to give FarmVille cash away for free are turning up in my facebook timeline frequently since i joined facebook. However my impression ist that fewer of my contacts took the bait recently. There is still hope for humankind ;-)

  3. Teresa · 1353 days ago

    As usual the scammers show an appalling command of English, e.g. "loose" instead of "lose", strange punctuation, and spell FarmVille with a small "V". Dead giveaway.

  4. dylan axiak · 1349 days ago

    they are all scam do not beleive

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Send Graham an email, subscribe to his updates on Facebook, follow him on Twitter and App.net, and circle him on Google Plus for regular updates.