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Halloween Freebies Lead to Ghastly Survey Scams

25
Oct
2013

With Halloween just around the corner, everyone’s thinking about costumes and candy – including cybercriminals. We found several scams taking advantage of the upcoming holiday on popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

The scams we saw used free Halloween products as bait. Searching for the phrase “Halloween GET FREE” leads to a suspicious YouTube video:


Figure 1. Suspicious YouTube video

The URL advertised on the video’s page leads users to a scam site that asks for your personal information, including your email address.


Figure 2. Scam site


Figure 3. Survey scam

Using similar keywords on Twitter yielded two suspicious accounts. Each account had a Halloween-themed Twitter handle, perhaps to entice users into checking out the accounts.


Figure 4. Two suspicious Twitter accounts

Each account advertises free Halloween candy with a corresponding URL to get the said candy. The advertised website leads users to survey scams, rather than candy.

Facebook also became home to a Halloween-themed survey scam. We spotted a Facebook page that advertises free Halloween candy, like the scam on Twitter. To get the candy, users are supposed to click a link on the page.


Figure 5. Website advertising free candy

But much like the other scams, this simply leads to a survey site. It’s interesting to note that users are directed to the page used in the YouTube scam mentioned earlier. To further entice users, the site promises Apple products in exchange for finishing the survey.


Figure 6. Apple products as “reward” for completed surveys

It might be tempting to get free stuff online, but users should always be cautious when encountering these types of promos or deals. Cybercriminals are willing to promise anything and everything just to get what they want. When encountering deals that are too good to be true, users should err on the side of caution and assume that they are.

Trend Micro protects users from this threat by blocking the websites involved in these scams. We are also still on the lookout for related and similar threats, which will also be blocked as appropriate. For more information about the Halloween-related scams and other scary facts about online threats, you may can check out our infographics here and here.

With additional insights from Maela Angeles

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