Facebook Black? Beware widespread scam hitting social networkers

Filed Under: Facebook, Spam

Have you seen an image like this in your newsfeed, shared by a Facebook friend? Or spread via an event invitation?

Facebook Black picture, posted on Facebook

If so, think twice before you click on the link - or you could be helping scammers earn money through survey scams or even make it easy for someone to hijack your account.

Messages and images inviting users to change the colour of their Facebook pages from the traditional blue have been appearing in rising numbers over the last few days, enticing users to click on a link to a third-party website.

Facebook post

When I investigated, and clicked on the link from a test account, I was bounced through a few website redirects before ultimately landing on a page entitled "Change your Facebook Color".

Change your Facebook Color

"Are you sick fo that boring old blue theme? Well now you have the power to change your facebook color to anything your heart desires."

Rather presumptuously, the page has already ticked my acceptance of the page's terms and conditions.

Before I knew it, I was told I had to take part in an online survey (which earns affiliate cash for the scammers) before I would be given the opportunity to turn my Facebook profile black.

Survey

In a nutshell, the more web traffic that the scammers drive towards the survey, the more money they earn.

Other versions of the scam attempt to trick you into thinking that the window of opportunity to turn your Facebook black is closing..

Facebook color

Interestingly, the scammers appear to have dusted off some of the webpages they have used in previous scams, such as the "Remove Your Facebook Timeline" scam, but they have forgotten to remove all the evidence.

Facebook Remove Timeline reference

Chances are, however, that many Facebook users will be too excited about the prospect of perhaps changing the look and feel of Facebook - and not spot suspicious clues like that.

If mistakenly clicked on links like the one above, remove offending messages, photos and "likes" from your account, check that you have not authorised a rogue app to access your account (from where it could steal information or post without asking your permission), revoke any rogue app's publishing rights and report it as spam to Facebook.

Make sure that you keep informed about the latest scams spreading fast across Facebook and other internet attacks. Join the Sophos page on Facebook, where over 190,000 people regularly share information on threats and discuss the latest security news.

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20 Responses to Facebook Black? Beware widespread scam hitting social networkers

  1. This is old news already. Had a friend like one of her friends pics which was the turn fb black. I posted on there that people should change their passwords and run viirus/spyware scans. At first they didn't want to listen to me lol. Then the person that has "uploaded" the pic said he never uploaded it. Then he proceeded to delete it. All I can say is that guy obviously had fallen for it. lol. If more people would use their brains these sort of things wouldn't be a problem..

    • I agree James...I see posts like this come through my feed all the time!! I always inform them it's a scam!! One time I even posted immediately it was a scam and to delete immediately...within a short time later someone else on their friends followed up right under MY WARNING....If you can get this to work let me know!! ...I just sat there in *awww*...I thought ...ok...if my post isn't good enough of a warning I'll get the link to the other security page who posted a warning about it and follow up on HER posting with that! Even stated with ppl like that it's no wonder these scammers are getting away with this crap...and also said if what I said wasn't good enough of a warning maybe this is....added the link and then said...THERE YA GO!! .... she never responded but my friend did thank me for letting her know! I usually send the person a pm but thought if posting on the actual link would inform a lot more people....it's not working...this page should be mandatory for ALL fb users in my opinion...most just are NOT getting it!! I can't tell you how many times I see scams coming through my feed over and over and over!!

      • Darlene · 678 days ago

        Thank you James,I too have been tempted to try some of these scams,but thankful I always remember in the back of my mind that just maybe they are not legit..But a friendly reminder is always appreciated..

  2. Celia · 678 days ago

    Hello - have shared your post on my page. I got an invite from someone about it but I am a suspicious geek and so googled it and found your page (and joined your FB page) and let them know.

    Thanks for a great awareness service!

    Celia

  3. Julie · 678 days ago

    If you use Chrome, among the apps offered is a Facebook color changer. While it does not change the entire page as this purports to do, it changes enough, such as the top bar and text colors, to give some alterations to the look. However, it only changes the color for the user, it does not, as far as I can tell, display the color changes to others. Changes for me are enough.

  4. Machin Shin · 678 days ago

    I once again wonder why Facebook does not just offer these features to users. It is painfully obvious that people want the option to change the color. I have seen plenty of websites that offer customizations for logged in users so I know this is possible.

    It is really sad that scammers are recognizing the desires better than the guys running Facebook. If Facebook would spend just a little more time serving the users instead of simply milking them for information then a lot of these scams would be gone.

    • Owen · 627 days ago

      Because we all saw what these features did to Myspace. People (mainly angsty teens) applied every last customization and made their profiles utterly illegible. I assume Facebook likes to keep it's look and feel contiguous, corporate and a little bit professional!

  5. Gus · 678 days ago

    All Facebook color changers are not virus or spam... There are safe and nice extensions.

    • Undoubtedly there are safe ways to change the colour of Facebook using browser extensions etc and greasemonkey scripts.

      However, it's clear that Facebook users should be wary as such temptations are frequently used as bait.

  6. Liralen Li · 677 days ago

    One of the newer versions also installs an extension onto Chrome, so beware...

  7. Freida Gray · 677 days ago

    I've noticed that several scams on Facebook seem to have .blogspot in their address.Because of this, I tend to be wary of things that have .blogspot in the address & hide them without visiting them.

  8. Marlene Lane · 677 days ago

    I really can't understand why anyone, except perhaps a teen or very young adult, would care what color their Facebook is. Are they hoping to feel special or have others see them as unique, privileged or successful? I"m either too young or too old to appreciate this
    type of vanity.

  9. Wack0 · 677 days ago

    I noted a couple of my friends were fooled by this, and also noted over 30000 people had installed the malicious chrome extension. Probably more by now.

  10. Sara · 677 days ago

    what do you do if you accidentally clicked it? help please! i dont want anything bad to happen to my account. It already won't let me like, comment, or post a status!!

  11. jennifer · 677 days ago

    ok so if we download it from our app on our iphone how to remove it? it says everything i post is flagged as abusive or spammy and idk how to delete it!

    HELP!!!!!!

  12. JohnR · 677 days ago

    Sounds as if I made the right decision never to have anything to do with facebook. Phew...
    LIG

    ( Life Is Good)

  13. Robert Gracie · 677 days ago

    My own personal scam sense went off right away when I saw that "Remove My Timeline" on it and I knew straight away...SCAM!

  14. yyaya · 613 days ago

    i know that wat will happen is if you download 2 many thing you will freeze up ya computer

  15. Xane M. · 600 days ago

    The first "Facebook Black" picture in this post looks like the one theme in Social Fixer. At least that nice looking theme is actually real in some way, but not through scams.

  16. Matt · 559 days ago

    ok if you experience this and if your using google chrome and it attaches as an extension in your google chrome settings --- just delete it in your CHROME settings if you have it in your facebook aswell... Thats how you remove it :)

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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.