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Study Reveals (Sad) Psychology of Facebook Scam Victims

Bad is good enough, according to a study of over 850,000 Facebook scams by the antivirus software provider Bitdefender. (PDF version of the report is here.)

The two-year study of Facebook scams in the UK, the US and Europe found that a short list of lame, repackaged tricks are a well that never runs dry: fooling Facebook users by playing on their curiosity, vanity or naiveté.


'Who Viewed Your Profile' scams were almost half of all Facebook scams the two year study found.
‘Who Viewed Your Profile’ scams were almost half of all Facebook scams the two year study found.

Almost half of social media e-threats prey on users’ curiosity. Far and away the top category of scam on Facebook  are ‘profile view’ scams that offer Facebook users the ability to see who has viewed their profile. That ruse accounted for 45% of all scams on the 1 billion strong social network.

The scam has been linked to malicious software downloads – often in the form of browser ‘plug-ins’ that promise to reveal Facebook profile views. It works well because it plays on Facebook users curiosity and, typically, is customized to them.

But about a third of scams trick users by promoting non-existent Facebook features, including the now-notorious ‘don’t like’ button.

Other scams include phony giveaways, such as holiday vacation, and tricks that play on users prurient interests, like celebrity sex tapes.

Read more via The psychology of Facebook scam victims.

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