Social Media Marketing

Social Media Mythbusters 2011: I’d Give You A $100 Cheesecake Gift Card If You Shared This, But 91.657% Of You Won’t Repost It

Brought to you by Intelligent Designs Media. Indianpolis’ premier social media marketers, and all around social media myth busting badasses.

Wow, what a year it’s been in social media. Let’s recap:

-Free cheesecake.

-Someone has been writing nasty blogs about you.

-You got to check how many times someone has viewed your Facebook profile, because that really matters.

- You’re an heir to a Nigerian King, congratulations.

- Free social media swag for being one of the first to “like” a page.

A pretty eventful year, if any of this were true. But, unfortunately, none of it is. And most of these scams are designed to harm you or your computer in some way.

So, let’s look back at some of the more popular scams around social media this year, and figure out what we can do to navigate social media more intelligently next year:

You are not an heir to a throne, nor the beneficiary of $1,000,000

Sorry, but it’s true. Nearly all of you have gotten this email at some point in your lives, and most of you know that it is total bullshit. But, unfortunately, some people still fall victim to this.

The scam looks like this:

Dear Friend,

I am Mr Ali Desmurs, the director of the accounts & auditing dept .at theAfrican Development Bank Ouagadougou-west Africa.(A D B) With due respect, I have decided to contact you on a businesstransaction that will be beneficial to both of us.

At the bank’s last accounts/auditing evaluations, my staffs came across an oldaccount which was being maintained by a foreign client who we learnt was amongthe deceased passengers of motor accident.

Since his demise, even the members of his family haven’t applied for claimsover this fund and it has been in the safe deposit account until I discoveredthat it cannot be claimed since our client is a foreign national and we aresure that he has no next of kin here to file claims over the money. As the directorof the department, this discovery was brought to my office so as to decide whatis to be done. I decided to seek ways through which to transfer this money outof the bank and out of the country too.

The total amount in the account is ten million five hundred thousand dollars(USD 10,500,000.00).with my positions as staffs of the bank, I am handicappedbecause I cannot operate foreign accounts and cannot lay bonafide claim overthis money. The client was a foreign national and you will only be asked to actas his next of kin and I will supply you with all the necessary information andbank data to assist you in being able to transfer this money to any bank ofyour choice where this money could be transferred into.

I want to assure you that this transaction is absolutely risk free since I workin this bank that is why you should be confident in the success of thistransaction because you will be updated with information as at when desired
I will wish you to keep this transaction secret and confidential as I am hopingto retire with my share of this money at the end of transaction which will bewhen this money is safety in your account. I will then come over to yourcountry for sharing according to the previously agreed percentages. You might even have to advise me on possibilities of investment in your country orelsewhere of our choice. May God help you to help me to a restive retirement,Amen.

Please for further information and enquiries feel free to contact me backimmediately for more explanation and better understanding throught this emailaddress (

The grammar and spelling is usually just as spot on as this example, as well.

Other variants include being an heir to a throne or fortune, or someone needs to deposit money in the U.S. and “randomly” chose you.

Unfortunately, they don’t want to give you any money. All they want is every little bit of information concerning you, so they can steal your identity and take your money or your life away from you.

Stay away.

There is no $100 gift card just for liking something

Alright, The Cheesecake Factory is giving away $100 gift cards just for liking the post, “$100 gift cards from The Cheesecake Factory.” But, seriously, why would they give you a $100? Social media is important for business, we will be the first to tell you that, but is your “like” worth a $100? No.

Common sense would tell you that, right?

You would think, but at least once a day, I see the post coming across my timeline. It looks like this:

Pretty cool, huh? I guess. Do you find having your personal information stolen pretty cool?

In order to receive your card, you will need to fill out a “brief survey.” This survey doesn’t really care about anything involving you and The Cheesecake Factory, it just wants to know your personal information: name, address, phone number, etc.

All things that should be a red flag that whoever is conducting this survey wants your identity, not your business.

Also, see those numbers right under the title in the picture? That’s your I.P. address, or, your computer’s identity. Just another little reminder that you gave away your personal information to some scam artists and you might want to go ahead and change your password, because they probably will have it in a few minutes.

Just a thought.

OMG! Like, someone has totally written a nasty blog about you, click this link to see what they said.

Somehow, this Twitter scam appeals to a lot of people. You can tell because your inbox is crawling with people DM’ing you about a nasty blog you’re featured in almost everyday.

And that means, people are taking the bait.

What happens with this scam is that you will get a Direct Message from someone who follows you on Twitter telling you about “a nasty blog someone has been writing about you, and you can click this link (insert virus link here) to read it.”


You know someone isn’t writing a blog about you.

Deep down you know clicking that link is a virus.

Yet, the human ego wins every time, and people consistently click the link despite knowing they shouldn’t.

And, what happens when you do click the link?

Congratulations, some hacker stole your account details and you have just DM’d all your friends telling them that someone has written a nasty blog about them.

And they will click your link, and the cycle continues.

Some variants of this scam steal your information for more than the purpose of annoying all your followers. This is a classic phishing scheme, so be careful.

Bobby’s profile has been viewed 8,000 times. How many times has yours been viewed?

Click here so we can see your profile. I mean, so YOU can see who's viewed your profile!

Perhaps, the worst aspect of Facebook Apps and Games is the ability for them to access your account information. This practice has become so commonplace that many people ignore this part when signing up for something on Facebook.

Unfortunately, companies take advantage of this.

This scam is much like the blog scam. You see a post showing how many times your friend’s profile has been viewed, and it intrigues you, so you click on the post to see how many times yours has been viewed.

When you do, it asks to access your information, and you want to see how many times your profile has been viewed, so you click “allow.”

What happens after is that the application assigns your “views” a random number. This number is completely arbitrary and is in no way anywhere near your actual profile views.

What the application really does is pester the shit out of all your friends it found when you allowed it to by clicking “allow.” It messages them, alerts them, and clogs your timeline.

And again, it also then steals, well, not really stealing because you told it that it could take it from you, a lot of your personal information. It can n0w share this with spammers, advertisers, or just generally try to cause havoc in your life.

Other scams similar to the “profile view” scam:

-Anything involving a product that is giving away something for sharing. It’s not harmful in most cases, but it is annoying.

-Clicking a picture you were “tagged” in by a random person on Facebook. Again, just like the other scams, you click, you inadvertently share pointless crap to the world.

Most notably seen in the form of heels and Air Jordan shoes.

Click these and receive a free pair of pains in your ass!

Finally, free shirts, sweaters etc. for liking a page:

This is kind of a blend between the “Cheesecake Incident” and the “Nigerian King” scam. Liking the page, not just a post, automatically spreads word of this scam to all of your friends. But, that’s not the biggest part of this scam.

The big issue is, of course, they got to send the swag somewhere, right? So, might as well give them all of your personal information so they can send it out.

Of course, they’re never going to send you anything. They just wanted all your personal information, so they could destroy your life.

That’s all.

So, there you have it. Some of the biggest social media myths busted for you. There are a lot more out there, but just use common sense and you should be fine.

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it is.

No one’s handing out free money, gift cards, or anything else simply for doing nothing.

You are not an heir.

And who cares what that blog said about you, you’re beautiful in your own way.

Happy Holidays-

Intelligent Designs Media

Useful Links:

Profile Scam

Free T-Shirt Scam

Cheesecake Factory Scam