Scam warning: Japanese tsunami RAW tidal wave footage

Scammers are taking advantage of the natural disasters in Japan with their usual Facebook likejacking tricks.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

As expected, scammers are starting to take advantage of the 8.9 magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunami in Japan. Just like with previous celebrity scams, they are leveraging Facebook with sensational headlines to target ignorant victims.

This version says something along the lines of "Japanese tsunami RAW tidal wave footage" followed by a link, and also mentions Australian tourists in the description (thanks Mark for the tip!). There's even a slightly more descriptive French version: "Vidéo exclusive de l'arrivée du Tsunami sur les cotes Japonaises - Voilà une vidéo du Tsunami du Japon du 11 Mars 2011 !!! A voir absolument."

Just like the previous "likejacking" scams (a play on the term clickjacking, which means prompting a victim to click something while a different action is taken behind the scenes) any of the above will lead you to a fake video website such as TouTube, FbTube, or spinavideo (ibuzzu for the French version). Under the play button, there's a warning message: "Please Watch this video only if you are 16 years or older."

The fake video player window is overlayed with a hidden iframe; actually clicking on it anywhere will also submit a Facebook Like and spread the post to your Facebook page. The scammer earns his or her money via a commission for every survey completed. Furthermore, you should never hand over your mobile phone number as scammers will sign you up for a premium rate SMS service.

As I've recommended before, if you see a scam like this one, report it. Then go check your own wall to make sure you're not spreading the scam; the sooner you clean it up and unlike the page, the better. You can even contact Facebook Security if you'd like to. Some security suites as well as the Firefox add-on NoScript will prevent the likejacking from taking place.

Scams aren't just spreading on Facebook: you'll likely get spam in your e-mail account as well. I've already seen at least two, one titled "Japan Tsunami Appeal | British Red Cross" and another one titled " FW: Please Help Japan Children." The first asks that you send money via MoneyBookers and the other asks for money to be sent to Malaysia.

If you still want to see some tsunami footage from Japan, check out this post on ZDNet.

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