The Internet’s Most Viral Scams

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1. Don’t Ever Assume You Can See “Who’s Stalking You On Facebook”

Most of us LOVE stalking people on Facebook, but we also want to know who’s snooping around our profiles. When “ProfileSpy” came along and promised to reveal which of our friends were checking us out the most, most people didn’t realize it was a scam until ads promoting our gullibility flooded their pal’s feeds.

2. No, Your Computer Is Not Going To “Crash At Any Second”

Many people reported this year that someone called them and told them their computer was running slower than it should be. But you were in luck, because for only $70 or $80, you could get this anti-virus software that would end all your problems. And yes, of course he or she would be willing to take your credit card information over the phone (and charge it for three or four times the amount they said they would). Hopefully, you knew better.

3. Sorry, Facebook Does Not (And Never Will) Have A ‘Dislike’ Button

You’ve wanted a “Dislike” button on Facebook for years, and it didn’t “exist” until someone created an “app” that would allow you to download one. All those quotes mean exactly what you think they do: it was all a sham. DISLIKE!

4. NEVER EVER “Click Here To See Dead Pictures Of Osama Bin Laden”

Within hours of learning Osama Bin Laden was dead, people wondered if photographs would be released to prove it. Various British websites published what they thought were images of a deceased Bin Laden, but they were quickly taken down when U.S. officials said they were fake. Lesson learned: get your news from trusted online news sources.

5. Starving? You’ll Have To Pay For Your Own Olive Garden Meals

In this scam, people were tagged in pictures of pasta and bread sticks on Facebook. But for their trouble, they “won” a month of free dinners at Olive Garden, and they had to “allow” an app to access their info if they wanted to claim the feasts. When they did, the program automatically created an album of more food pictures and tagged all their friends in them, and everyone realized their microwaveable dinner days weren’t over just yet.

6. Pinterest Joins The Legions Of Platforms Open To Scams

Someone recently set up a page on Pinterest that’s filled with “free” $500 gift cards to H&M. Users are asked to “re-pin” the page so they can get their “free” card. However, once the image is “pinned” to a board, the user is informed that the offer is “not available” to them (just like all the French chandeliers and bedroom decorations they’ve been fawning over).

7. No One Is Giving Away Free iPads, We Promise

Within hours of Steve Jobs’ death, a message appeared on his Facebook page that read, “In memory of Steve, a company is giving away 50 free iPads tonight.” A bit.ly link was provided, but of course it took you to gambling websites. The post was removed from Jobs’ page 15 hours later, but not before 15,000 people deactivated their pop-up blockers so they could pursue their iPad.

8. Remember The Classic Nigerian “Advanced Fee” Scam?

Virtually everyone received the email about the Nigerian civic servant who wanted to deposit between $10 million to $60 million in your bank account. If the victim believed the deal was legit, they learned the arrangement was about to fall through and were pressured to put up some of their own money to save it. Even though this is one of the most famous schemes in the history of the internet, the Financial Crimes Division of the Secret Service still receives about 100 calls a day from people who have been duped.

9. Not That We Need To Tell You, But Don’t Watch “A Spider Crawl Out Of This Guy’s Arm”

A video that claimed to show a spider crawling out of some guy’s arm has been all over Facebook since last June. If you clicked the video, you had to enter in your age (because it is graphic, you know?), but instead of seeing any spider, you had to fill out a bunch of surveys so you could choose between a iPad or a free gift card to “Argos.” But by then, all you really wanted was the spider (or any spider, for that matter) to be free.

10. A Sob Story For All Your Money? Scammers Posed As “Soldiers” To Steal Our Hearts (And Our Money)

Scammers created online dating profiles, pretending to be U.S. soldiers overseas. They flirted with women and once the imposters gained trust, they then asked for money for medical expenses or flight tickets home. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command issued memos discouraging citizens from communicating with people who say they are soldiers on dating websites after one woman loved a “soldier” so much that she sent him $127,000.

Bottom line, if something online looks too good to be true, it probably is.

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