Millions of people own a Facebook account, so do you, right? Have you ever met such situation before: a Facebook friend posts a link to a video saying that it’s awesome and kind of unbelievable? You want to click and check it out, but wondering whether it’s a scam or not. Yes, this is often the case. With more and more social networking websites, it’s quite easy for scammers to take advantages of the unsuspecting users on Facebook, Vemio and other websites. As Graham Cluley, an independent security expert at security firm Sophos said, “before social networking, you had to consciously forward an email with malicious content to members of your address book, but now with Facebook, it’s just too easy to pass something along. You can click a link, ‘like’ a post or reshare something without thinking about the consequences. Before you know it, you’ve contributed to the problem and worsened the signal-to-noise ratio on the social network.”
Generally speaking, a Facebook scam has got four common characteristics; therefore, it is not difficult to spot the scams by following some useful tips as below.
Tips 1. The Content is salacious. Be alert if the post contains something shocking, horrible or salacious. Besides, the language used is usually emotional, enticing you to click or take immediate action, Cluely said. Sometimes, you will find some posts promising a peek into celebrity sex tape, please ignore it directly.
Tips 2. Extract steps to view more details are required. On Facebook, there are many types of scams while survey scams the most popular one. You will get a big prize like an iPhone or iPad on the premier that you have finished the specific questionnaire. In fact, this is the way how the scammers make money—by driving traffic to particular sites. For example, the post reads “Get an iPhone 5 from Costco Voucher Right Now! Only ten left!” When you click the post, you will be asked to share the “Offer” with more friends or post something nice about Costco. In this case, you should read through the content of the post and ask yourself “What am I going to get from this?”, if you are asked to accomplish a survey or download & install certain software before you know what’s expected to get, the alarm bell is ringing and you should pay more attention to it.
Tips 3. The content of the post seems newsworthy and it promises to offer something extraordinary to the public. Occasionally, Facebook scammers will take advantage of the popular or unexpected news. For instance, they may share a post announcing the death of a celebrity and claiming that they will offer the final pictures of the celebrity’s life. When you click the post, you are clicking an invisible Like button, actually. That means, your Facebook friends will soon see the post that you “Like” and they will likely share it as well, that’s how the scams spreads. Before you are going to click the post for viewing, Cluley said, you can google the news to check whether it’s true or not.
Tips 4. The post promises Facebook users something beyond Facebook’s technical power to deliver or not plan to do. For example, they may announce that Facebook has made some new features or privacy change. One typical example is the “Graphic App” privacy warning hoax, in which users share a message warning of a change in Facebook’s privacy settings. The message inaccurately warns of the privacy implications of Facebook’s Graph Search, which recently rolled out to all users. “Before you are going to share this warning, you should verify the trueness of the rumor or news first.” Cluley said. Additionally, Cluley also gave some advice such as enhancing your Facebook’s password, check for updates, plugins or patches on Facebook regularly and more.