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Facebook users warned of Apple iPad scam

Thousands tricked into thinking they are registering to test Apple’s latest product

Security experts believe the public's desire for a bargain and lust for new gadgets is driving the current spate of iPad-related scams.
Security experts believe the public's desire for a bargain and lust for new gadgets is driving the current spate of iPad-related scams.

A new Facebook scam tricking users into thinking they are registering to become a beta tester of the highly-anticipated Apple iPad is doing the rounds, IT security firm Sophos has warned.

Thousands in the United Kingdom and USA have already been tricked into signing up for a premium rate mobile phone service when, in truth, they thought they were registering to beta-test Apple's latest product. The Facebook pages have names such as "iPad Researchers Wanted - Get An iPad Early And Keep It!" and "The Mega iPad Giveaway!"

According to Sophos, the scam pages invite Facebook users to become a ‘fan' of the page and are asked to invite their friends to do the same, and take part in a special promotion. The third stage of the hoax is to get them to ‘claim' their prize where the victim is typically taken to an online quiz that also asks for their cellphone number in order to SMS them the results.

"As if inviting all of your friends to participate in a scheme that you haven't properly investigated wasn't bad enough, the biggest mistake of all is to hand over your mobile phone number," said Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos. "You will be signed up for a premium rate service, costing you in the region of $10 every week, until you unsubscribe. The scammers who created the fake iPad Facebook pages are undoubtedly skimming off some of this money by bringing new unwitting subscribers to the cellphone service."

"And these scams aren't just limited to iPads - we've also seen scam pages offering other expensive electronics and 'premium' services on Facebook. The one thing in common is that all of these pages are designed to trick you into believing that you are going to receive something which  the scammers have no intention of delivering," added Cluley.

Unfortunately many fall prey to such scams because they believe fake positive comments posted on the page by other Facebook users claiming that the offer is genuine. A video detailing elements of the iPad scam can be viewed here or by accessing the Video tab above.

Members are advised not to invite friends to join any Facebook pages or applications unless they have been properly researched.