Beware of These 11 Facebook Scams
Putting Yourself at the Risk of Social Media Scams
If you are on Facebook, then you are putting yourself at risk of scams. These activities are prevalent on Facebook and other social network sites. You should always approach something that doesn't look right with caution. Be on the lookout for duplicate accounts, viral videos, stolen accounts, requests for money, contests, coupons, and promises of love.
Top Facebook Scams
- Duplicating Accounts: One way that scammers trick those on Facebook is to imitate the email template from Facebook, which makes it look like you have an official message. Once you enter login information, the phishers can duplicate your account, hold it for ransom, or begin asking your friends for money or information.
- Viral Videos: Viral videos are huge on social media pages, especially if they are racy, shocking, or scandalous. However, since they are irresistible to most of us, they are also perfect bait for scammers. When you click on one of these videos, you will be asked to update your video player, and, when you do, it downloads and installs a virus onto your system. It also shares the same scam with your friends, who believe the message they receive is safe since it looks like you shared it.
- Identity Theft: Facebook accounts can be used to crack other passwords. If your account is duplicated, your information can be used to determine the answers to knowledge-based authentication questions that verify the identity of the account owner. Multi-factor authentication is a good idea to use on all of your accounts.
- Give me money, I'll return even more!: After duplicating your friend's account, scammers are using the account to get you to pay them with the promise of returning much more. Your "friend" will tell you that they paid an amount and received a huge return, and recommend you do it too.
- Burglary: Criminals also use Facebook to determine if a potential victim is at home or not. Publicly sharing information about vacations and other times away is exactly what burglars are looking for.
- Free coupons: You have probably seen this many times. You are promised free coupons at large retailers worth more than usual, or coupons for a free vacation. All you need to do is use your Facebook login on a site, and you'll get a free vacation—or your social media identity will belong to someone else without the vacation.
- Geo-Stalking: Using the idea of geo-stalking, a criminal can use the GPS technology of social media to stalk and find a target. You should turn off your social media location settings.
- Is this you? Lol: This is a scam that has been around for some time. Usually, a link to a video is included with a description from a "friend." The link is normally a virus or browser hijacker.
- The "Who Viewed Your Profile?" and "So and so unfriended you!" Scams: If you are active on Facebook, you have probably seen these. Facebook does not advertise these types of activities.
- Contest Scams: This is another common scam, and it is as simple as setting up a fake page on Facebook, marketing it with a great contest, and collecting information from everyone that joined. One such scam claimed that those who shared the link would get a $1,000 IKEA gift card, and more than 40,000 people fell for it.
- Love scams: The good-looking deployed American serviceman/woman or an alluring lonely foreigner hoping to get to America are common themes used to find unwitting targets. Many people feel alone and become entwined in a social media affair where the person eventually asks for money to get "back to America" or travel there with promises of seeing their "loved one." Once the money is transferred, the distant lover disappears.
Money Is Never Quickly Made
The concepts behind defeating these scams are fairly simple in theory. Don't click on unknown links and remember that nothing is ever free. There probably is not a gorgeous international prince or princess interested in you out of the blue (unfortunately).
No businesses or friends are going to offer you lots of money, and there are no methods of making quick fortunes. Check with your friends before chatting with them, and report any suspicious activity to the social media service provider and law enforcement.