Theme Park accident video used as bait by Facebook viral scammers

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

It's a sad reflection on society when scammers find a successful way of tricking people into clicking on their links is to offer them a video of a rollercoaster accident.

This weekend Facebook users have seen their online friends seemingly pass around links claiming to point to video footage of theme park accidents in either Alton Towers in the UK, Summertime Theme Park Australia, or Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Theme Park accident message on Facebook

OMG! Theme Park accident in Alton Towers United Kingdom

Rollercoaster Accident in United Kingdom
Check this @: [LINK]
This has just been leaked!

Other versions read:

HORRIFIC! - Summertime Theme Park Australia ACCIDENT! - 89% Cant Watch It Rollercoaster Accident in Australia

and

OMG! - Theme Park accident in Universal Studios Hollywood
Rollercoaster Accident in California

Clicking on any of the links takes you through the familiar process of approving a rogue application, that will then post the same message to your own Facebook wall, and attempt to trick you into taking an online survey that earns money for the scammers.

Theme Park accident survey scam

You should remember that if there was a real news story like this you would never have to approve a third party Facebook application to learn more about it - you could simply visit a legitimate news website.

At the time of writing, Facebook security has shut down the offending link - but it's possible that the cybercriminals could return with a new version.

If you've been affected by this scam (more details of which is available on the website of our friends at Facecrooks), 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 170,000 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.

Hat tip: Thanks to Naked Security reader Andrew who first sent us a tip about this scam spreading on Facebook.

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27 Responses to Theme Park accident video used as bait by Facebook viral scammers

  1. John Culp · 1238 days ago

    Again, the first time I tried to share this with the Facebook share link at the left side of the page, Facebook blocked it with the following message:

    "This message contains blocked content that has previously been flagged as abusive or spammy. Let us know if you think this is an error."

    The Facebook link at the bottom of the page let me share it.

  2. Matt · 1238 days ago

    CPALead, again.

  3. David · 1237 days ago

    sick of these articles on fb spam.. dont you guys do anything else? these scams are all the same old stuff.. kind of annoying

    • Paul Ducklin · 1237 days ago

      We do quite a lot else :-) If you can bear to read about another Facebook scam, but one which works in a different way - notably, one which avoids the need for a rogue app - then check out this: http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/2011/04/11/facebo...

      • I am sick of seeing these facebook scams show up on my friend's walls (which means they keep showing up on my "Most Recent" page, which is why I "liked" Sophos in the hopes that some of my friends would get the hint.

  4. No Name · 1237 days ago

    There REALLY annoying everyone posts them on my facebook and it bugs me but my friend filled the survey in and they took £3,000 pounds out of her bank account! she was soooo annoyed! so DONT fill them in.

  5. Mac · 1237 days ago

    The video shows the usual method for removing these rogue apps, HOWEVER it doesn't work for the "theme park accident" one. It does NOT have an X next tow it :o(

  6. Toby · 1236 days ago

    I've seen this Scam happening in Germany / Switzerland as well...

    It was there the 'Europa Park' in Rust near to Freiburg.. Acutally all the same - just in german ;-)

  7. kof8 · 1234 days ago

    I really don't do much of that 3rd party stuff....don't understand why it is needed?

  8. Mike · 1232 days ago

    Just proves how many idiots there are on the internet. Why would you add an app just to see a news article? Common sense is dead.

  9. Carly · 1231 days ago

    The thousands of scam articles on Facebook are obvious...the majority of them start with OMG! Or half way through the comment they write in capital letters. I can't think of anyone on my friends list who writes like that to be honest and the majority of articles are claiming to show footage of something that would probably be all over the news so the chances of you discovering it on Facebook are pretty small. If anyone goes through the entire process of adding an application, agreeing that it can see your information and completing a survey just to read an article then they're asking for it really!

  10. Sarah Garrod · 1230 days ago

    all of my friends sent me this and I just said its spam it would be on the news if it was real, but they're so gullable, and im not kidding one of my friends didn't know what spam was :L she literally thought i meant spam as in meat lol. anyway I checked here and found this. sorry for poor grammar and spelling I am in a bit of a rush.

  11. Matt Kendrick · 1227 days ago

    Also claims Canada's Wonderland

  12. Came up on my Facebook page but first thing I did was head to your website to check out if it was real. Thanks for providing such a great service in keeping us informed of these scams.

  13. Pam · 1225 days ago

    Can anyone post how to remove this. Has no X to do so, and I never opened it. Came from a friend, so went to delete it, but it didnt work, and ever since its been going round as if from me to all my friends. Very annoying.

  14. I have seen this here in today and its going through everyones pages!! Luckily I did not click on the link and checked the news stories and this showed up :) Love to know I am once again kept safe!

  15. Concerned · 1221 days ago

    Mine said "Roller Coaster crash in Qatar". We haven't got any roller coasters in Qatar!!!!!!!!!!!! It obviously makes the 'heading' applicable to the receivers country of residence!!

  16. Paul · 1221 days ago

    I just got this one tonight. Thanks for the update

  17. Chris · 1220 days ago

    Don't go near it, it sends itself on to all your contacts. Obviously a new version out there.

  18. Aika · 1219 days ago

    Said Alton Towers crash on mine which came up just a couple of hours ago *rolls eyes* should have realised- my friend NEVER uses grammer or capital letters when typing or says OMG haha! XD Didn't click it though *phew* These scammers are complete morons. Imagine making one of those? Hope they feel guilty and do something worthwhile with themselves. Thanks for the article! :)

  19. Xxx · 1217 days ago

    Why does anyone need to check to see if this is real. How thick are some people. I suspect they also think they've got x million £/$ waiting in Nigeria for them as well.

  20. Kay · 1216 days ago

    omg i just got one, but it had my friends picture on it... then they sent another mesg saying "have u seen it yet i couldnt watch all of it!"... thats a horrible thing to do, i though my mate sent it?... but maybe there just using ur friends pictures so u will open the mesg??? not sure really

  21. sarah graham · 1215 days ago

    i didn't know these idiot scammers could also put a comment in underneath the article, as i have just seen this myself, but as the above comment states, my friends also said " have you seen it yet, i couldn't watch all of it".. how do they keep going on like this when i thought facebook has these removed?? I knew as soon as i seen it, it was a virus, but was quite shocked at the fact, it states a comment underneath from the friends name..so wrong..

  22. Badgeman · 903 days ago

    "You should remember that if there was a real news story like this you would never have to approve a third party Facebook application to learn more about it - you could simply visit a legitimate news website"

    Unfortunately plenty of newspaper apps now require you to approve them before you can follow links to their stories.

  23. I just like the helpful info you supply for your articles. I will bookmark your weblog and test again right here frequently. I am moderately sure I'll be informed many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the following!

  24. jason phoenix · 679 days ago

    a great way to stop these facebook scams and is 100% effective is to stop using facebook and go out and meet someone for real!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Janel · 221 days ago

    This is happening again on facebook. I have seen three versions of this posted by friends in the last two days

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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.