How To Spot A Facebook Scam - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Cloud // Platform as a Service
04:14 PM
Connect Directly

How To Spot A Facebook Scam

Keep your Facebook account safe and secure by watching for these four common tactics used by scammers.

3. The Content Is Newsworthy But Promises Something Extraordinary

Facebook scammers often take advantage of popular, tragic or unexpected news, such as the death of a celebrity. These posts might promise the final pictures of the celebrity's life or the first pictures of their deceased body, Cluley said.

"Many of us are consumed by tabloid news and just out of morbid curiosity might be tempted to do what a post asks in order to view that video or photograph," he said. "It's understandable, too, because so much news breaks on social media."

These types of scams are often clickjacking attempts in which you see a thumbnail with the "Play" button. When you click it, you're actually clicking an invisible Like button. Your Facebook friends then see that you've liked that page or video and might like it themselves, further spreading the scam.

If you're tempted to click, Cluley said to ask yourself whether or not it's out of character for your friend to share such a video or image. If you're still unsure, Google the news in question or turn to a reputable news site for the content.

4. It Promises Something Facebook Would Never Do

Some of the most popular scams are those that ask you to download an app that shows you who has viewed your profile, Cluley said.

"These scams offer something every Facebook user wants, and it's something that is within Facebook's technical power to deliver," he said. "But Facebook is not going to do it, and they have no plans to do it. But people still click and before you know it, that message is spreading again."

Scammers also prey on newsworthy changes Facebook makes, such as announcing a new feature or privacy change, he said. One example of this 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 share such a warning or sign an alleged petition to prevent Facebook from making a change, do your homework and verify the rumor or news, he said.

In addition, there are preventative measures you can take to ensure you stay safe while using Facebook.

Cluley advises that you:

-- Keep your antivirus software, plugins and patches current. Check regularly for updates.

-- Set a strong Facebook password that's difficult to guess and is one you're not using elsewhere.

-- Check to see which Facebook apps you've granted permission to and remove suspicious apps you don't remember downloading.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
2 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Susan Fourtané
Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Author
7/5/2014 | 7:56:41 AM
Facebook scams trigger curiosity
Thanks, Kristin. 

Some of these things sometimes may feel they are obvious, especially if you are involved in technology. Yet, at the time of being on Facebook taking a break from whatever you are working on, which is what I do, you simply forget about your inner security alert. Well, unless you see on FB something that it's particularly annoying and, therefore, avoid it, as I mentioned before commenting on your other post.

These scams make you also think of human curiosity. Are humans so curious that they will always fall into these traps?

It's great you bring these reminders to our attention. :)

User Rank: Apprentice
8/1/2013 | 11:58:52 PM
re: How To Spot A Facebook Scam
5. It demands that you forward it to everyone you know.
6. All or parts of it are in ALL CAPS.
7. It contains statistical information without valid citations. If you're going to make the (valid) case that American military service people on duty in Afghanistan are underpaid, don't lie about the pensions of presidents and members of Congress in order to exaggerate the claims.
8. It's a chunk of text which has been rendered into a graphic, and therefore not easily editable. (Yes, anybody who can 'shop can change it, but most of these things try to get you to act without thinking, and believe it or not, 'shopping requires thinking.)
9. It contains spelling and/or grammatical errors.
10. It contains political "revelations" that would be all over the news services ... if they were real. I cheerfully admit that my politics are moderate-to-liberal, but I see various of my friends falling for made-up crap all over the political spectrum, including conservatives, liberals, libertarians, etc.
When I see any of the above, I do my best to make the supreme effort to ignore them. They will cost me more in the time required to read them than even any entertainment value I might get from them.
And anybody, even a good friend, who repeats that vile post which twists the story of a Righteous Gentile who saved Jews from the Holocaust into an excuse for bashing politicians that the anonymous original author doesn't like, gets flamed. YOU DON'T DO THAT AROUND ME AND GET AWAY WITH IT. (Sorry for the all caps!)
Number 6
Number 6,
User Rank: Moderator
7/30/2013 | 8:12:08 PM
re: How To Spot A Facebook Scam
5. A Headline that Draws You In

Watch out for too-tempting-to-resist status updates like "How to Hack a Porsche" and "How To Spot A Facebook Scam" that can lead you to questionable websites. :)
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2013 | 6:42:24 PM
re: How To Spot A Facebook Scam
I know an older person who's fallen for more than one online scam--including losing some money from a bank account. Recently, someone seems to have stolen her ID for a Twitter account. I tried to help with the Twitter situation, but hit a brick wall.

It's a crazy world out there.

Jim Donahue
Managing Editor
Cara Latham
Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2013 | 6:16:16 PM
re: How To Spot A Facebook Scam
Haha! This is a very good point! I will let you know if I succumb to one now that I've made the claim.
David F. Carr
David F. Carr,
User Rank: Author
7/30/2013 | 5:49:10 PM
re: How To Spot A Facebook Scam
I'm always wary of claiming I never fall for these scams, figuring that would one would come along and snag me as soon as I boasted about being immune.
Cara Latham
Cara Latham,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/30/2013 | 4:13:16 PM
re: How To Spot A Facebook Scam
I never understood why people fall for some of these scams. I ignore everything that either seems too good to be true, requires any effort on my part, does not look authentic, or seems malicious (sexual content). And in the Costco case, if I really wanted to get a Costco voucher, I'd have called up the store and asked whether it was legitimate. I am sure they would be able to provide customers with any info on legitimate campaigns.
How GIS Data Can Help Fix Vaccine Distribution
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  2/17/2021
Graph-Based AI Enters the Enterprise Mainstream
James Kobielus, Tech Analyst, Consultant and Author,  2/16/2021
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Flash Poll