Most of us spend a surprising amount of time on Facebook. We love posting about the exciting things taking place in our lives, we enjoy looking at the photos loved ones share, and we often treat it like an interesting party line that provides a legal way to spy on the lives of others. We seldom stop and think about how dangerous Facebook can be, even though we routinely hear about friends whose accounts have been hacked or who have encountered a Facebook scam.
While you don’t have to completely stop using Facebook, you’ll get more out of the social media giant if you are aware of the most popular Facebook scams and know how to identify and avoid them.
Phishing on Facebook is just like other forms of internet phishing, it just takes place on Facebook. The way it works is someone creates a fictitious Facebook account that suggests they offer a service or own a business. When you express interest in the business/service, the mastermind behind the account steals your information, including your Facebook password, and uses it for personal gain.
The best way to spot a Facebook phishing scheme is by looking at the website you are directed to. If the URL has anything other than facebook.com on it, it’s a scam and you need to exit it and clear your browsing history right away.
Counterfeit Products Promoted on Facebook Marketplace
The Facebook marketplace has become a popular place for people who have cheap products to make a quick buck by promoting them as if the product was name brand or high quality. The best way to avoid falling into this trap is to study the pictures closely and read the seller’s reviews. If the product looks suspicious or there are many bad reviews, move away from that seller and look for something else to purchase.
Bogus Job Scams
Even though Facebook isn’t the first place most people look when they’re hunting for a new job, there are some legit job opportunities posted on social media sites. The problem is that there are also some surprisingly convincing bogus job scams available on Facebook.
The purpose of the bogus job scams is the same as other scams, the person behind the scam wants to extract specific information from you that they can use for their own gain. The best way to protect yourself from a bogus job scam found on Facebook is to never give away any personal information, change your password each time you message the person responsible for the job listing, and carefully research the company that allegedly posted the job.
The Scam Involving Gift Cards
The general rule of thumb is that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s certainly the case with many of the gift card offers floating around Facebook. One of the reasons so many people are conned by fake gift card scams is that the person behind the scam hacks an account and makes it appear like the offer is coming from a loved one. And the wording is both persuasive and authentic.
The scam is twofold. Since you’re asked to click a link and provide information about yourself, the person behind the scam collects information from you that they can use to help steal your identity. They also ask you to share the post, making it possible for them to connect with your Facebook friends so they can run the gift card scam on other people.
The best way to avoid being scammed by a Facebook scam is to limit your social media actions to dealing with people you know well and always confirm their identity before clicking on any links or secondary accounts.