A moment ago, whilst engaged in my usual Facebook creeping routine, my eyes were drawn to one of the advertisements; as often is the case. I have long since accepted that Facebook is more aware of my interests than me. Being a dirt poor college student, however, I never actually click them. This ad was special though. It was advertising something free.
Spoiler alert: it was a scam.
Before you judge me as an inept webizen of these United Internets, I’ll have you know this petty scam did not get the better of me. Though, it came closer than any which preceded it.
Here’s why. Upon reading the ad’s entirety, the thought that it might be a scam hadn’t crossed my mind. Facebook, with it’s sleek, simple-but-dynamic charm instilled me with a false sense of security. Surely, a website with which I have such history wouldn’t usher me toward anything malicious. Especially not with all my friends around.
Oh, and also because what it was advertising put me in an excited unthinking frenzy. The potential to obtain a pre-release copy of Grand Theft Auto V. Gimme a minute, I gotta watch that trailer again.
Yeah, it’s gonna be the tits.
So you can imagine the extent of my enthusiasm when I spotted this deceptive little bastard of a GTA V Facebook Ad.
If I’m not mistaken, it seems this Facebook advertisement purports to be created by Rockstar Games with the intent to find beta testers for their new awesome video game. Once the webpage it linked to opened, the implication was the same, despite a less convincing presentation than the ad. Blinded by desire, it wasn’t until I read its directions that I could no longer suppress the stinging realization that I wouldn’t be beta-testing Grand Theft Auto V for Rockstar.
Other than the words “Congratulations Visitor from Facebook” it scrawled upon my browser’s header, obviously written by either a foreigner or a robot, there seemed to be a certain urgency to its words. As though it wanted me to dart through the process in a careless haste. As though it sensed my yearning to do so.
Here’s the actual page it took me to. I’m probably almost certain it’s safe to visit.
Since it likely won’t be up long, here’s a screenshot too.
As you’ve observed, this clearly wasn’t set up by GTA’s publisher. The absence of Rockstar logos, the tacky green text against black background, and the presence of what has to be the sorriest attempt at a faux ‘verified site’ icon that could possibly have been produced are all indicators that some Russian teenager threw it together in a hurry between being cold, and, well… being cold. What else do you think there is to do in Russia? Be cold and scam Americans. That’s it. Oh, and pretend Anna Chapman is attractive.
Ohh, but I kid the Russians.
I must say, I’m quite proud I was able to resist what was a tenacious urge to give every bit of my info to this insalubrious website. Way to go me.
This near-catastrophe left me with a question regarding Facebook’s ad policy. Namely, whether or not they have one.
They do. The next inquiry I faced was how effectively they enforce the ad policy. Since I never click the ads, it’s never been an issue. This being a harder question to answer, I was brought to write this in hopes that my fellow bloggers could share any experiences they’ve had with Facebook ad scams. I wanna find out just how big an issue this is over there.