We are all spending more time on Facebook. Scammers know this, and use Facebook as a hunting ground. In today’s post, we cover some common scams to watch out while spending time on Facebook.
Phishing is when a scammer impersonates a legitimate website or service to convince the target to give up their login credentials. A Facebook phishing scam is just like other phishing scams, but several of the mentioned scams rely on compromised Facebook accounts.
The attack starts when a target receives an email to verify their login information or to recover their password. The email includes a link that redirects to a page that looks very similar to Facebook. If the address bar says anything other than facebook.com, it is a scam. Once you enter in your login, the scammers will have full access to your accounts a friends list. Facebook will not send out emails requiring any steps to maintain your account. The only time you should receive a reset email is when you initiate it in the event you forget your password.
The message below is a scam active on Facebook. If this was emailed to you or you found this letter in the mail, you would disregard it. The reason this scam is successful is it is sent out through compromise accounts to their friend’s list. Seeing that the message came from a friend ultimately lowers your defenses and builds credibility.
Oh Wow!! Amazing! I won the Facebook lottery, and I'm not even on Facebook! I feel so lucky! Surely this isn't a scam… pic.twitter.com/nZCrFHqjvK
— Mr Benn (@therealmrbenn) November 30, 2019
These scams work by requesting a processing or administration fee in order for your winnings to be released. If the scammer is really confident, they will attempt to get you to send in more money in the form of fines or additional fees. If you are told these transactions will never be deducted from your winnings, it’s most likely a scam.
Malware Infections Via Clickbait
Clickbait is a common tactic used by everyone on social media or other online forums. The title will grab your attention and cause you to click. The more outrageous or inflammatory the title, the more likely someone is to click. Scammers use links with redirects to pages that will attempt to trick you to installing malware on your device. Facebook is able to remove these links, but scammers have caught on and will shorten the URL to avoid detection. The best practice is to avoid clicking on this type of content unless you are able to verify the source.
Fake Coupons and Gift Cards
Scammers also use Facebook to spread fake coupon codes and gift cards. The goal of these scams is to get as much information as possible. Once a scammer controls a compromised account, they will share the links and encourage the victim’s friends to do so. These scams yield your personal information like email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, birthday, and more. Telemarketers and scammers then purchase this information for further targeting.
Another popular scam capitalizes on events publicized on Facebook. A scammer will create several ‘fake’ event pages, listing a limited number, but high priced tickets. Once created, the scammers will throw some money behind the event to promote it. As users click that they are interested in going, it will give the event legitimacy and build a sense of urgency. The chances of buying a nonexistent ticket or drastically overpaying are high. To avoid this, only purchase tickets from legitimate ticket sellers like Ticketmaster or Seatgeek.
Marketplace is a great way to pick up things needed without the original price tag. Similar to Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace has a huge population of Buy/Sell/Swap groups. Unlike other sites like eBay, Marketplace has no buyer protection. Sellers will use methods like PayPal or Venmo to receive payment, making it difficult to get the money back in the event of a scam. Always inspect the item before finalizing the purchase to ensure you’re not getting ripped off. In addition, make sure to meet the seller in a well lit, public place for everyone’s safety.
Most scams are avoidable. Just remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. The more we use digital platforms, the more opportunity there is for scammers to make money. Stay vigilant, and you will have nothing to worry about. If you found this article interesting or helpful, check out our other posts!