Spotting Facebook scams

There are more than 1 billion active users of Facebook worldwide, so it is only natural that scammers have started targeting users of the world’s most used social network. With the latest changes to how ‘Likes’ are shown in your feed, scammers have been given an opportunity to go viral, fast.

Spotting a scam

Scammers are after two things, for you to like their post (so it goes viral) and for you to click on the link that goes to their website. A recent example of this occurring is by scammers posting a video with a title and photo that makes you want to click on it. It is normally shown in your feed as one of your friends having liked the video. When you click on the video, you are taken to a website where a popup tells you that you need to download the latest version of your video viewing software to watch the video. Once this occurs, your computer is infected with a virus and the video which infected your system is ‘Liked’ on your Facebook page. This means that the video is then shown to your friends on Facebook who may in turn be infected.

There are several other types of scams circling Facebook at the moment and there is sure to be a new one popping up every month. One type in particular that has been going on since the creation of pages on the social network is to do with fake pages. These types of scams occur when Pages are created for a special cause such as a way to donate to victims of the Queensland floods or Victorian bushfires. A large number of these pages are created out of the best of intentions, but there are always a few that pop up claiming to be official and a way to donate to help those affected, while in reality, they are individuals pocketing your money. It is always recommended that you visit the website of any charity as a way of donating and never go via a social link.

The least malicious scam going around, but most common, is the ‘If I get to a million likes’ scam. The idea of the scam is for the poster to put up a heart-tugging picture and message such as ‘If my post gets 100,000 likes, then my Dad will buy me ice cream’ or ‘If my post gets 1,000,000 likes, XXX will pay for surgery to save my life’. While you may instantly think, well, I should like this, these pages are simply a way for scammers to built pages with likes to on sell.

Do you have any other Facebook scams you have noticed to share?

Written by Drew

Starting out as a week of work experience in 2005 while studying his Bachelor of Business at Swinburne University, Drew has never left his post and has been with the company ever since, working on the websites digital needs. Drew has a passion for all things technology which is only rivalled for his love of all things sport (watching, not playing).
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