Published February 07, 2013
She's young, she's pretty, she's got a squeaky-clean public image — Taylor Swift is the perfect subject for a Facebook scam.
"The famous singer Taylor Swift had her iPhone hacked Monday and a sex tape between her and former boyfriend Harry Styles has been leaked on the Internet," reads a scam message spotted this week on the social network by HoaxSlayer and Bitdefender.
"Taylor's publicists are trying to take down all of the websites hosting it, but we found a working one! Watch the video before it's taken down!"
If this all sounds familiar, it may be because almost exactly the same thing happened more than two years with another pop idol — Miley Cyrus.
Then as now, clicking on the video link doesn't show you anything salacious.
Instead, you'll be drawn into a morass of surveys and scams that may ask you for your email address, your mobile-phone number and your name and address, or offer you dodgy-looking games and browser toolbars.
Providing any of the information required guarantees that you'll be at a higher risk for spam emails, fraudulent premium text-message services, identity theft or even malware.
As always on Facebook, or on any website, be very wary of anything that seems too good to be true — and don't download anything that you don't expect, such as a purported video-player update or a browser toolbar.
Best of all, install anti-virus software and keep it updated. It won't stop you from giving up your email address, but it will protect your computer even if you can't.