After all of furore of the launch of the Apple iPad it is perhaps surprising that it has taken such a long time for some ‘quality' suspicious links to arrive.

The oversized iPhone has been around for over a month now and has been a consistent trending topic on Twitter and Google, and I am sure that amongst those links there has been some less than savoury items included.

But such is the demand for the iPad that malware has emerged via Facebook pages with names such as ‘iPad Researchers Wanted - Get An iPad Early And Keep It!' and ‘The Mega iPad Giveaway!' that are preying on the public's desire to own the iPad, and without the reported $499 price tag.

Sophos, who detected the threat, said that the scam pages typically take their intended victims through a three step process: firstly to ‘become a fan' of the page, secondly to ‘invite your friends' to also become fans of the page, and take part in the ‘special promotion' and finally ‘claim' or ‘apply' for your prize.

Some of the pages pretend to have thousands of positive comments from other Facebook users claiming that the offer is genuine. When the victim applies for their prize they are typically taken to an online quiz, and their phone number is requested so they can be sent the results.

This, Sophos claimed, was the ‘biggest mistake of all' as users will be signed up for a premium rate service costing in the region of $10 every week until they unsubscribe.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said: “The scammers who created the fake iPad Facebook pages are undoubtedly skimming off some of this money by bringing new unwitting subscribers to the cellphone service.

“Of course, the public aren't being invited to beta-test the iPad, and anyone who believes that Apple is going to giveaway iPads for free is going to be bitterly disappointed. And these scams aren't just limited to iPads - we've also seen scam pages offering other expensive electronics and 'premium' services on Facebook. The one thing in common is that all of these pages are designed to trick you into believing that you are going to receive something which  the scammers have no intention of delivering.”

Proof once again that nothing comes for nothing, and if you really want an iPad you will have to join the queue, get a job at Apple or join a technology or gadget magazine's review section.