Really, all you have to do is talk someone into giving you their iPad, but you’re not going to get one if you fall for the spam that has been going around on Facebook recently. There have been many of the spam scams over the years. Usually the spam is sent from a hijacked account, but this does not always need to be the case.
The most recent one I am aware of shows up as a message on a person’s wall. It says “Heyy Randy I can’t believe it, I actually got a free ipad to test out and keep. They are only giving away a limited supply, so I’m showing you this. There are still giving them away from the new years overstock! I absolutely LOVE the iPad :)”
There’s a link to click on, but since I was not the one who actually received the scam, I am not certain what happens when you click on the link in this case. Sometimes you may be prompted to install an app that will then spam your friends. Sometimes you’ll just be taken to an advertisement because the person who created the scam is getting paid for clicks to the ads. Sometimes you’ll be asked to take a survey, and the person creating the scan will get paid if you do and you’ll be spammed more by the company providing the survey. You will never get the iPad for free though.
Just reading the message should be enough to let you know it is fake. Even if there was a “new years overstock” of iPads, which I doubt”, they don’t give them away, they reduce the price a bit and sell them. That’s how companies handle overstock of hot selling items.
If you get a message from a friend asking you to click on a link, it is always a very, very good idea to TALK to your friend. Make sure they really sent it. Hacked accounts are very common, so don’t assume that a message from your friend’s Facebook account actually was sent by your friend. For more tips on social network safety you can read Aryeh Goretsky’s post Armor for Social Butterflies.
Director of Technical Education
Cyber Threat Analysis Center
ESET North America
Author ESET Research, ESET