My Facebook wall has been viewed X times - viral survey scam spreads rapidly

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

Do you want to know the total number of times that your Facebook wall has been viewed? Are you curious as to who may be stalking you on Facebook?

If so, you're a prime candidate for scammers who are exploiting that desire to put money into their own pockets.

Here are the latest messages spreading virally between thousands of Facebook users who have fallen for the scam:

AMAZING! My Facebook wall has been seen 1674 times.

Different incarnations of the scam use slightly different wording, and dream up different numbers for the boys and girls who are said to have looked at your Facebook wall:

SHOCKING! My Facebook wall has been seen 1981 times.
Boy views: 1169.
Girl views: 812.
Check yours @: [LINK]

WOW! My Facebook wall has been seen 2306 times.
Boy views: 1568.
Girl views: 738.
Check yours @: [LINK]

SHOCKING! My Facebook wall has been viewed 1326 times.
Boy views: 610.
Girl views: 716.
Check yours @: http://bit.ly/eoCq9U

AMAZING! My Facebook wall has been viewed 2410 times.
Boy views: 819.
Girl views: 1591.
Check yours @: [LINK]

When you see one of your Facebook friends post a message like the above, chances are that you might be tempted to try it out for yourself. So what does happen if you click on one of those links?

Well, the first thing you see is a standard Facebook application request dialog - requesting your permission to grant a third-party app access to your Facebook profile. If you give it permission, then it will be able to peruse your Facebook page and post messages in your name.

Rogue Facebook application

The scammers have created a variety of different rogue applications that they are using in this particular scam. Facebook, sadly, doesn't adequately verify the people who create apps so you're playing Russian Roulette when you allow a complete stranger this level of access to your Facebook page.

Of course, you want to know how many boys or girls are checking out your Facebook - so you're likely just to grant the rogue application permission to your Facebook page.

Big mistake. You should have clicked on "Don't allow" instead.

The next thing you know, you are taken to a page which looks like it has lots of information about who has been viewing your Facebook wall.

Facebook survey scam

But do you notice that all the information about who has been stalking you on Facebook is "locked" away? The page is asking you to complete a "30 second" security check to "prove you are human" in the form of an online survey. The implication is that you'll find out who has been viewing your Facebook profile, once you have completed the online test.

What the scammers don't tell you is that they earn commission for each survey completed. Furthermore, they have already exploited your own Facebook page to post out a message to your friends, inviting them to also find out how many times their Facebook wall has been viewed. In this way the revenue-generating survey scam spreads virally.

And do you ever discover who has been viewing your Facebook wall? I'm afraid not. But you have made some money for the scammers, and helped them with their nefarious scheme.

If you've been affected by this scam, you should clean up your account before any further damage is done.

I've made a YouTube video where I show you how to clean-up your Facebook account if you were hit by this, or similar scams on Facebook:

(Enjoy this video? You can check out more on the SophosLabs YouTube channel and subscribe if you like)

Make sure that you stay informed about the latest scams spreading fast across Facebook and other internet attacks. Join the Sophos Facebook page, where more than 70,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

You could also do a lot worse than check out our best practices for better privacy and security on Facebook guide.

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2 Responses to My Facebook wall has been viewed X times - viral survey scam spreads rapidly

  1. Walrus · 1299 days ago

    What really baffles me is why anyone is still paying for surveys to be done, as most of them are the result of this kind of trickery. The results will be no use to anyone.

    • erroneousgiant · 1299 days ago

      I'd have to disagree; the results are just as valid to the company that commissions the survey even if the user isn't aware that’s what they're doing. It is annoying that so many people fall for it though. Subscribing to at least one site like this should be legally required to own a PC. That would hamper this kind of thing and not much else will. User knowledge is required to be higher.

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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.