They seem to come in waves – but a lot of them return over and over again: Facebook scams. The other day I asked on my Facebook Page:

What do you do if you see one of your Facebook friends post a scam on their wall?

Most of you responded that you would tell your friend, either on their wall or in a private message, that they fell into a trap.

There is really no reason to be embarrassed if you believe the promises and fall for one of the scams. Many of the sites that promise new functionality or have a very compelling video are very well done. Just like some of those phishing email scams they are very well designed and you have to look very closely to detect that something is wrong.

What can happen?

If you are interested in learning more about why people program these scams I recommend you read this very good blog post by Ann Marie van den Hurk: You’ve Been Hacked

  1. Phishing: We all know phishing emails where you are asked to enter your bank or credit card information into a website claiming to be your financial institution. Social Media Phishing scams work the same way
  2. Malware: Everyone browsing the internet should have very good Malware and Virus Software installed (check out Cate Eales’ Column for this) but sometimes a little program slips through undetected and spies on what you are typing and possibly finds out your passwords or even banking information
  3. Likejacking or Clickjacking: You are led to believe you are clicking “like” but you are actually ending up on a malicious web site
Ok…. enough scary stuff 🙂

How can we avoid these traps?

  1. The old saying “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is false” is a good guideline on Facebook too. Facebook, Apple nor anybody else is going to give away random product to just anybody. Think about “what is in it for them?” Nobody can see who visited your Facebook profile or who unliked you – if that were possible it would be all over the news and would probably end Facebook’s winning streak
  2. Ask the experts: There are two sites that I check regularly if I find a posting suspicious:
    1. Hoaxslayer is a great resource to debunk harmful and harmless scams going around all over the world
    2. Sophos Security has the newest information about everything around internet and Facebook security
  3. Scan your Facebook Page: Just like scanning your computer for viruses should be a regular chore for you, there is a good app to check your Facebook: Bitdefender Safego 

What to do if your Facebook account is infected?

  1. Change your Password! Choose a secure one including capitals and numbers that can not be guessed easily
  2. Scan your Computer – use a good virus and malware scanner to find any pesky data spies on your harddrive
  3. Investigate what happened and warn your friends – especially if you got the infection after sharing one of their updates
  4. Check what apps, games and other applications you have given permission to access your Facebook data (see video below)
  5. Feel free to share this post – My blog post “How the Hack” about Twitter infections is still one of the most shared pieces of free advice on my blog
Often infections happen because one of the many apps we authorized gets hacked. It is a good idea to go through your apps periodically and remove anything that you don’t really use or that you don’t even remember anymore. For this you have to go to your Facebook Account Settings > Apps

Are you forgetful?

There is an app for that too! Mypermissions.com checks all of your registered Social Media accounts on a monthly basis. The paid version scans your permissions and removes the apps you don’t trust. You can also register your email address and mypermissions will send you a monthly email reminding you to manually check who has access to your data.

Has it ever happened to you?

Have you ever believed a false promise and posted a Facebook Scam? What happened? Please tell us your story


Image credit: When I thought of writing this blog post I remembered the delightful video by John Nolans: Nolans Cheddar have fun watching

Published by Frithjof

Digital media strategist, coach, community manager and CEO of BlueBird Business Consulting. Blogger, podcaster, content creator and teacher with a passion. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis

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