Giveaway scams are not uncommon on social networks, especially popular ones such as Facebook or Twitter, but now there’s another playground on which cybercriminals can spread their malicious campaigns.
Pinterest has become very popular, especially after some big names signed up. Now, the millions of account holders are seen as potential victims by crooks who fill their pockets with the help of affiliate marketing scams.
Trend Micro experts noticed that a particular image kept popping up on the website and after further analysis they determined that it was a classic gift card scheme that advertised Starbucks giveaways, adapted for Pinterest customers.
“Starbucks is giving away free giftcards to all Pinterest users,” reads the malicious image.
Those who click on it are taken to a webpage that requests users to “Pin it” (the Pinterest equivalent of the Facebook Like) in order to win the much desired prize.
In the next stage a survey page appears, promising more prizes in exchange for a few clicks. While those clicks earn the crooks a lot of money, the victims never receive anything.
The bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if they’re advertised on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or any other social media site, a scam will remain a scam and it should be ignored.
Security solutions providers have started blocking the sites that hide behind these shady advertisement, but internauts should learn to avoid them altogether.
While some plots are almost harmless for the user, involuntarily involving them in spam campaigns, others can be far more dangerous.
Many variants not only sign up the victims for premium-rate services, but also spread malware that’s cleverly designed to target all the sensitive information it finds on the infected device. Passwords, online banking credentials, and other sensitive information can be stolen and later utilized for emptying bank accounts and for other fraudulent activities.