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Phishing, False Login, Sweepstakes, and Other Facebook Scams

I found out the other day that my grandmother uses Facebook. I was shocked when I saw an add request from a woman who finds electric mixers to be an unneeded extravagance…I didn’t even know she owned a computer! This shows clearly the change in technology, and the usability of social networking sites. From kids to adults of all ages, backgrounds, locations and online-savvy, Facebook has become an immense unifier for the masses.

Sadly, with every positive step taken by the online world, there will always be a negative side, usually undertaken by the shadier sources of the criminally minded. Facebook scams are the newest incarnation of this, stepping up to adapt after the majority of the net wised up to the ridiculous theft attempts of the email generation.

These are the top five Facebook scams going on right now, and how you can avoid them in the future.

Phising Facebook-scamThe Phishermen

The setting may have changed, but phishers haven’t gone anywhere. You may remember these from emails, where they would (and still do) send links from a “friend” or trusted source to your inbox. When you click on the link you are either directed to a website with malware, or to somewhere that will ask for account information for a website or bank account.

When doing this through Facebook, it is usually through email or mobile phones. They will send a link and when you click on it you will be directed to a different site. That site will not be the official login page, even if it looks identical. You will know by the URL. Is it Or is it something like or Either way, it is a fake, and you should change your password information on the real web portal immediately.

Facebook scamThe Lost Traveler

It is 6 A.M, you are about to get ready for work, but you hop on for your social fix while you sip your first cup of coffee. There in you inbox you are alarmed to see a Facebook friend writing you and others asking for help. Apparently, they are on a trip out of the country and they need money, quick. You feel there is something wrong, but you know that friend did go on a trip, so what if it is the real deal and they are in trouble?

Chances are, they aren’t. The most likely scenario is that they took advantage of an internet cafe and didn’t properly sign out. Now, someone is trying to get you to wire them money. This happens all the time; think of it as an extension to the “Nigerian General” scheme we have seen over and over during the last decade.

Here is how you find out: ask for personal details. Ask about them and make sure they are things not listed on the website. Then, have them contact you via phone. If they say they can’t, call them out on it. All Internet cafes and most hostels have available phones. If they can’t call you Collect, they are full of it.

Facebook like button scamYou ‘Like’ It

The ‘Like’ button has become a sensation, one that is seen all over the net on everything from YouTube to news sites. But it is very easy to fake, and clicking “Like” can actually put you on scammers radar. This isn’t the only way that they can get to you using this method. They can also use the fan pages on Facebook itelf, and they commonly do. In fact, that has become a veritable breeding ground for sending you straight to malware infested pages all over the web.

You have to look out. I am not saying to give up ‘Liking’ whatever you want, but run frequent virus and spyware scans. Don’t like anything that looks suspicious, and keep off of weird fanpages suggested to you by unknown newcomers to your list.

Facebook sweepstake scamJoin This Group, Get a Puppy!

What’s that? If I join this Facebook group I will win a $1500 gaming laptop, $10,000 and a yacht if I invite my friends?! No way! Actually, ‘no way’ is right. Whether they are promise you amazing gifts or just something shocking or hilarious to see, anything that will make you join before providing you access to content is a fast way to get your email on a mailing list for an unsavory online marketing company trying to snatch up your name.

If you want to keep away from these, the only way to do so is to not join up in the first place.

Facebook login scamLet’s Connect!

A lot of sites have a handy connect feature to allow you to comment on sites without having to register a secondary account. Many of us take advantage of this, and to a certain extent it has limited the anonymity on the web. This has a certain amount of positives, as people are usually more careful about what they say if it can be traced back to them and they will have to face up to being a moron to their friends and family later on.

But this is an easy thing to forge. If it isn’t a well known site, such as CNN, TechCrunch, RAW or others you at least have a basic understanding of their reputation, don’t use. it. Once you sign in with your information, a bad site will have it. You will have to move fast to change your password before you are locked out and have to go through official channels (such as Facebook customer service) to fix the issue. Who knows what havoc can be caused by then?

cc licensed flickr photos shared by Retinafunk and bixentro

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10 Replies

  1. I think the advent of social media has certainly helped scammers a lot. They have got new tools and methods to scam people through social media sites like facebook and twitter. It is really important to be cautious clicking on links, likes as you said. And well, nowadays the other kind of scam and spam on rise in facebook is the video scams. Great post ….

  2. I am always wary of most facebook applications as I had a long conversation with someone from McCafee at a conference telling me how most viruses are downloaded through facebook quizzes and games. Saying that they are excellent tools for procrastination!

    Thanks for highlighting the main villains as I get paranoid thinking they are all evil when many are just clever social media tools

  3. The face book application are the ones that make me nervous. Some of them just don’t give up.

  4. Annie Wallace Dec 18th 2010

    Natalie, Sarkari, thanks! I tend to be careful with apps again. I hope Facebook will introduce some moderation process in the future!

  5. Finally I find out what a phishier is. rough translation a pusher. Makes sense now. Thank you.

  6. I am often wary of most facebook programs as I had a long conversation with somebody from McCafee at a conference telling me how most viruses are downloaded through facebook quizzes and games. Declaring that they’re superb instruments for procrastination!

    Many thanks for highlighting the main villains as I get paranoid pondering they are all evil when a lot of are just clever social media tools

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