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Any user of Facebook has heard of the scams. We have all gotten the messenger warnings that are, in themselves, scams about the latest Facebook hack. With so much misinformation swirling around, how do we keep ourselves safe on Facebook?
Keep up with the latest scams going around. Keeping abreast of the latest scams can be quite a job. Still, it is smart to pay attention to what is happening in the world of social media. Avoid Facebook scams by knowing what to look for:
One popular scam that has been around for a while is that a scammer gets just enough information from close contact to make a look-alike profile. They then contact you, hoping you won’t realize it is a fake profile. The hook is that they generally have some money that is owed to you. The catch is that you need to pay them an upfront fee for whatever made-up reason.
Alternatively, they may require you to reveal personal information by clicking on a link to fill out an application, etc. That may seem easy to spot, but when you have hundreds of Facebook friends, more people fall for the scam than you would think. What if you were in the job market, and this “friend” had an inside lead for your dream job? They are just sending you the application so they can push it through for you. They are hoping that you will trust them because they are someone you know.
What to Do:
The adage, if it seems to good to be true, it probably is, definitely applies here. Look carefully at the profile. You can probably easily see that your friend has an entirely separate profile. If you are still unsure, reach out to them via phone. Never agree to send anyone money or information over Facebook messenger. Report the Facebook scams account to Facebook and let your friend or family member know about the fake account using their name.
A friend’s behaviour or Facebook mannerisms seem odd. Even if you haven’t gotten a new friend request from them, they message you and don’t seem like themselves. Be especially wary if they are asking for money or private information. Hackers can steal passwords, log into someone’s account and then hit up their contacts for money for emergencies, a sick dog, etc.
As with the above scam, contact your friend or family member away from Facebook. If you cannot reach them, and they are stating it is an emergency, then ask something only your friend would know. If they hesitate to answer, you know you are dealing with a scam.
What to do:
The advice here is the same as when a scammer creates a fake profile. Let your friend know their account is compromised. Consider posting it on your wall, warning other friends as well. Notify Facebook immediately.
Someone leaves you a message with a vague, but panic-inducing message. Something like “I cannot believe he posted that picture of you,” with an embedded link. Do not click the link. The odds are good that it is malware or spyware. Clicking will give it access to your device and your account. You can check your social media accounts yourself if you feel concern that someone posted something inappropriate.
What to do:
You need to notify Facebook about the fake account. Delete the message, and do not be tempted to click the link.
These and many other scams routinely make their rounds on Facebook. If you have children or older people in your family who use Facebook and may not be savvy about these things, let them know what to look for. Be a resource, ask them to please check with you before they click on links in messages or ever consider sending money to anyone. Unfortunately, scammers are hoping to connect with the most vulnerable people.