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‘Anaconda coughs up an entire hippo’ scam hits Facebook

11th August 2010

A rogue application that is spreading virally across Facebook can access affected users’ profiles, their list of friends and can re-post the bogus message as a status update and wall post.

Sophos is warning Facebook users about the scam, which automatically posts status updates on affected users’ profiles with the message: “OMG, this is the biggest and scariest snake I have ever seen, check out this video [LINK REMOVED]”.

The link takes users to the rogue Facebook application, which tricks them into granting permission for the app to access their profile. Once a user has granted access to the application, they are directed to complete online surveys. They are promised that once they complete these surveys, they can see a video called “Anaconda Coughs Up An Entire Hippo!”

Impact of the Facebook scam

Sophos says that each time a victim completes a survey, the scammers make some commission. If a victim doesn’t fill out the survey, the scammers have already abused their Facebook account by spreading the link to friends.

Action Fraud also reminds Facebook users that allowing access to personal information via social networking websites like Facebook can result in identity theft and fraud.

Anyone aware of scammers operating on Facebook should report it directly to Facebook, using the 'report' links near the content. Anyone who has lost money as a result of fraud taking place online, or via any other medium, can report it to Action Fraud.

Read more about the snake Facebook scam on Sophos’ website. 

Please note: Action Fraud is not responsible for the content on external websites.

To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.

See also:
Do you really know who your Facebook friends are?
Online fraud
Identity theft and fraud
Phishing