No thanks, I’d rather gnaw my own foot off than eat a single lunch at Taco Bell.
Because the site can install software on your computer, this scam could also be used to a) infect your system with malicious code, b) steal passwords or financial data, c) recruit your computer into a zombie botnet, or z) all of the above. The names of one of the PHP scripts that run on these sites matches one found at Koders.com that uses an SQL injection flaw to steal passwords. Might be a coincidence, might not.
Using one of my secret identities I logged onto Facebook and friended J/N. He/she was apparently surprised by this, because a minute later J/N opened a chat window and started grilling me in badly fractured French. I responded using the remnants of my high school French class (thank you, Ms. Judy Hendrix) and Google Translate. Therein commenced possibly the most atrocious dialog in the historic of the Gaulic language – and mine was still better than J/N’s.
She said she was a 29-year-old florist, her real name was Cecelia and that “Nadja” was really the name of her neighbor in the Ivory Coast. She asked me if I was married and if I had an MSN account. She avoided answering my question about whether that was her real photograph. When I asked why so many of her FB BFFs were journalists, she decided she’d had enough of our little tete-a-tete and disconnected. So that part remains a mystery.
My guess: J/N lives in the Ivory Coast and this is her job – trolling Facebook for victims and collecting affiliate payouts for the suckers who bite. He/she is still out there trolling for victims as I write this, though I suspect not for long, as her account has already been flagged by at least one of her “friends.” No matter. She’ll just pop up again using another fake identity, and the cycle of scams will continue.
I don’t blame J/N for this though. I don’t even blame Facebook. I blame Q-Interactive, a lead generation firm that is the parent company of Vente, which in turn produces Big Buck Surveys and a thousand others like them. Ever heard of CoolSavings.com? That’s Q-Interactive.
These companies, whose clients include some of the best-known brands on the planet (General Mills, Walt Disney, American Express, Pepsi, Target), are essentially legal spammers. They dangle prizes in front of people to harvest their personal information, then sell it thousands of times to their clients, as well as the direct mail, email, and telemarketing industries.
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