Scams Target Emotions
One negative undercurrent to discussions on scams is the idea that someone was “outsmarted." Not all scams are based on outmaneuvering someone. Scams aren't usually some grand con that are based on outsmarting the mark. Usually they just try to get you to make an emotional decision, and unless you're a robot, everyone is vulnerable to that.
Let's just cover the emotions that they target. Lust is a big one, as you would expect. Videos promising wardrobe malfunctions have drawn in tons of people. Apparently something involving Marika Fruscio has been tricking people for about a month now, according to Sophos' Blog. The setup is simple. They promise a video, then fake the page and get you to click on a share link or download a rogue application. While yes, it is incredibly foolish to just click on a video link like this, that's partially the point. They just want to catch someone who's not thinking clearly.
If you're smart enough not to blindly trust a “Hot women past this, we promise" link, then they'll just go for other emotions. Just this month, there have been scams involving supposed videos of Amy Winehouse's death, the Oslo bombing, Casey Anthony's confession, nasty spider bites and a dark humor bit about a father dropping his daughter so that he could catch a home run ball.
At rough count, that's gossip, fear/genuine news, gross out and humor/outrage, and that's just a brief selection over the past month. You can go through the Sophos Blog for Social Networking Scams and find a new one every few days that hits the same basic ideas.
And that's just video links. People send messages from hacked accounts all the time that play on similar emotions. These can simply promise cool links, if they're simple, or they go to another level. Some recent scams claims that a blog or wall post says something bad about you, hoping that your vanity will overcome your rationality.
The truly nasty will claim an account and then send messages out to family members saying that they're stranded in a foreign country, another state or in jail and that they need money now.
Regardless of how they do it, they'll find a way to target your emotions that will work. Everyone has a weak spot. It's not that hard to slip past some side of your rationality shield.