5 top tips to spot Facebook scams

2016-05-17 14:12 - Duncan Alfreds, Fin24
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Facebook. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)


Cape Town - The growing number of people on social media has attracted criminals intent on committing financial fraud to popular platforms.

Recently, a number of Fin24 users have reported being hit with ransomware scams to extort money from them. Meanwhile, security firm Trend Micro has previously demonstrated that criminals will create fake Facebook profiles in order to lure mostly male victims into a sextortion scam.

READ: How ransomware has cost Fin24 users thousands

Some hoaxes are simply transparent appeals for money or deceptive links to malicious content.

“Hoaxes are all over Facebook and with users often encouraged or forced via hijacks and hacks to share and like content, it will often seem like the hoax has been personally vouched for by your friend,” said Carey van Vlaanderen, chief execuitive of Eset Southern Africa.

The security in 2015 reported an iBanking malicious application that tricks users into installing a fraudulent Facebook application on Android smartphones.

The giant social network has a reporting mechanism for fake or fraudulent profiles and pages as well as advice on how to prevent your account from being hacked.

“Fortunately, most of the popular Facebook hoaxes are unoriginal and have been seen before in some form,” said Van Vlaanderen.

Here are her five tips to spot a Facebook scam:

1.       If it asks you to share first, beware

Scammers know that the best way to get you to click their link is to have had another friend like or share it first. So often they will ask you to share a video or a picture before you see it. This should trigger alarm bells. If they want you to share it first the chances are it almost certainly does not exist.

READ: Here's why you're not to blame for cybercrime

2.       Does it seem believable?

Often, Facebook hoaxes will promise something that is literally unbelievable to reel you in. Examples from the past have been fishermen catching dinosaurs and real life mermaids. Most likely, any video proving their existence will require you to upgrade your video software or give you some nasty malware.

3.       If I get a million likes

People offering to do things if they reach a million likes may be perfectly harmless, if pretty pointless, but they can have a darker side. Likes are a currency of sorts. A page with lots of likes can be sold for cold hard cash. Pages with 100 000 likes can go for thousands of rand, leaving you liking something undesirable, which could do some serious damage once sold.

READ: You won't believe who's to blame for click bait

4.       Anything that lets you use Facebook differently

Facebook has a page full of frequent myths about the site that often gets spread as truth. To be clear, it tells you that Facebook won’t ever charge and that you can’t change the colour of your pages or see who has viewed your profile.  Apps promising to do this, won’t act as promised but will load you up with spam or worse. Stay clear.

5.       Shocking video clips

Scammers know they need to grab your attention with content you can’t see elsewhere and it is often violent and grizzly. If you see news sites promising celebrity deaths or people being mauled by animals, you can bet your last dollar that they’re not a legitimate website.

How worried are you about cybercrime on Facebook? Let us know

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Read more about: eset  |  cybercrime