March 5, 2012 at 5:25 PM ET
Social networking site Pinterest, skyrocketing in popularity in recent months, is also drawing some of the bad guys to the bulletin-board-like site that lets users "pin" images of food, fashion and anything they like, basically.
Trend Micro said the all-too-familiar-but-fishy "click on a link" scheme -- usually a scam to get users to take an online survey -- is tailored to the Pinterest crowd, with the allure of free coffee and Coach bags.
"I’ve noticed one particular image constantly getting re-pinned in the website," said Abigail Pichel of Trend Micro on the security software company's blog.
"The image prominently features the Starbucks logo with a message stating that Starbucks was giving away free gift cards to all Pinterest users. Users will then need to visit a particular site to claim the gift card."
And, Pichel writes, "it seems like Starbucks wasn’t the only one in a 'generous' mood. Another pinned image was stating that luxury brand Coach was giving away free wallets and purses to users if they visit a particular site."
If the Pinterest member tries to visit either the fake Starbucks or Coach sites, "they are redirected to websites that urge them to first re-pin the images. The last step involves clicking a link that leads to a survey scam site," she wrote.
"It’s the same attack we’ve seen before, but on a different social media site. Cybercriminals use names of legitimate brands to convince users to either click a link or visit a particular site."
Pinterest recently reached the number of 2 million unique monthly visitors in the U.S., "becoming the fastest site to cross the 10 million mark in history," noted Laptop recently.
Traffic grew "40-fold in 2011's last six months," said msnbc.com's Athima Chansanchai in another recent story. And with that traffic, comes traffickers, looking to benefit at your expense. Make sure that doesn't happen -- no matter how tempting an offer might sound.