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November 2, 2012

Facebook iPad Mini Scam Accesses Users’ Personal Information

Facebook users are the latest targets of a scam.

Less than a week after Apple launched its iPad Mini, Facebookers have been offered the opportunity to grab a tablet for free.

A computer and online security company, however, is calling the offer a malicious hoax.

Sophos is warning Facebook users against clicking on the link that will take you to a ‘request for permission’ page on the social media site.

“If you can’t control your desire for an iPad Mini then you might be tempted to click on the link, which takes you to a rogue Facebook application,” a blog post by Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, reads. “Despite the use of Apple’s world famous logo, the messages have nothing to do with the Cupertino-based firm.”

Once users click the link, they are transported to a ‘request for permission’ page on Facebook.

“If you’re being level-headed, you might think twice about handing over control of what gets posted to your Facebook account (and details of your personal information, as well as your friends’ names) to a complete stranger in exchange for the chance to win an iPad Mini,” Cluley writes. “But it seems some people can’t resist.”

Users who allow the rogue application to be installed will instantly have a message posted in their name to their Facebook wall. The post encourages their friends to also click on the link for a chance to win an iPad Mini.

It snowballs from there, Cluley says, because other Facebook users will trust a friend’s post, will click on the link, and continue to spread the scam across the social networking site.

“I’m not much of a betting man, but my guess is that you’re not likely to receive a free iPad Mini by clicking on links like this,” Cluley writes, adding the ruse is a way for scam artists to collect personal information and spread spam and scams across Facebook.

Anyone who has already fallen victim to the scam should remove the message from their timeline; rescind the app’s publishing rights and its access to their account before reporting it as spam to Facebook.

“We have seen similar scams spreading on Facebook in the past, posing as offers for free iPhones,” the blog post reads. “Make sure that you keep informed about the latest scams spreading fast across Facebook and other Internet attacks.”