According to Romania-based anti-virus company Bitdefender, all of the top ten scams on Facebook involve celebrities supposedly caught in compromising positions. From the Rihanna-Chris Brown sex tape scam that made the rounds a few months ago to the alleged caught-on-tape encounter between Selena Gomez and Justin Bieber, online scam artists know how to take advantage of the kind of salacious content that users want to see.
Catalin Cosoi, Chief Security Strategist at Bitdefender, talked to USA Today about some of the methods that scammers use to get these fake videos to go viral. There is always an attention-grabbing headline and then a link that draws users into a series of surveys or questions that prompts them to reveal their personal information in order to access the supposed lewd content. The messages and content of these scams are the same every time, so you would think that they’re easy to spot and stop, but Cosoi notes that if they weren’t working, criminals wouldn’t still be using them.
“Cyber-criminals have no reason to stop for them, it¹s a profitable business with low overhead,” he said of the celebrity sex tape hoaxes. “And why would they spend time and energy coming up with new material when users still answer to the same old emotional triggers?”
Cosoi also noted that if users merely stopped and thought about these links for a few moments, they would be much less likely to fall for these scams.
“Facebook users should count to ten before clicking any button or image promising them sex videos or features the social network doesn¹t have,” he said. “The compulsive social media behavior of a few users helps scammers maintain a profitable business.”