March 14, 2013 at 5:16 PM ET
It's not uncommon for Facebook scam artists to tempt people with fancy gadgets, but usually, said items already exist. However, a recent scam invites unsuspecting users to Like and Share pages that offer a chance to test and keep Sony's upcoming PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's theoretical Xbox 720.
The PS4 scam displayed what appears to be an upside-down PS2 next to a mockup of a PS4 controller, which makes the scam instantly ridiculous. Sony has not yet shown the PS4 console, but the company displayed the real PS4 controller weeks ago. While the scammers later updated the page with an accurate controller, the console image is absolute nonsense.
In addition to the absurd photo and the amateurish writing, the page's URL is not the appropriate format for big businesses, but rather suggests that an average user designed the page. This did not prevent over 60,000 people from collectively liking and sharing the page, also sharing some of their personal information in the process.
Perhaps even sillier is the Xbox 720 scam, apparently perpetrated by the same people, which cropped up around the same time. Microsoft has not yet announced any kind of Xbox 360 successor, and even if it had, the product would probably not look like a digital recorder turned on its side. This time, a comparatively paltry 15,000 souls fell for the trick. [See also: 5 Things the PlayStation 4 Needs]
Facebook scammers who want users to Like and Share pages can't extract that much information from the victims, making this scam more of a nuisance than an actual security threat. The real issue will probably come later, when the scammers contact the "lucky" people selected to test the systems, and pester them for contact information and, more than likely, money or credit card numbers.
Avoiding scams like this is extremely simple. Check to make sure that the page in question is official (if it's riddled with typos and fake photos, it's probably not), and attempt to verify promotions via a company's official social media channels. Otherwise, the best way to get a next-gen game console is, as always, to save your pennies and wait for the launch.
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