- 4 years ago

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Facebook’s IPO today was the largest in the history of technology companies. The social network raised $12 billion and is now valued at well over $100 billion, making founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg one of the wealthiest humans in the world. So it’s not surprising to learn that at least one IPO-related scam is making rounds today.

Symanetic has spotted a classic 419 scam—one of the oldest phishing tricks in the book, but one that still manages to catch the gullible off guard. These scams typically promise big money in exchange for assistance but require up-front charges and fees to be paid in advance. From Symantec’s blog, here is some info on this latest Facebook scam:

The scam claims to be sent from a finance firm with offices in multiple locations around the world … The scam mentions loaning money under “soft” or generous terms to buy Facebook stock or shares and then selling them back to the finance firm at a price higher than the original purchase price.

We see many red flags with this. First, the email header is in all caps: FACEBOOK (IPO) SUBSCRIPTION PARTNERSHIP PROPOSAL. Second, the company claims to have offices in London, Hong Kong, and Dubai—yet the phone number included in the message is from Sacramento, California. Further, the company’s website claims its office is in Cardiff, Wales.

Adding to the sloppiness of the scam is an amateurish-looking email address at a common, free, web-based provider. Obviously, a legitimate company would use an email address at its own domain.

Screenshot: Symantec