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Once solely the stomping grounds of college kids across the country, Facebook is now the social media for everyone from pre-teens to grandparents. That wide of a population range means Facebook is a wide-open territory for hackers, spammers, and criminals to get to work trying to swipe information, personal records, money, and access to your life. Facebook reported that 30 million user profiles were breached at one time in September 2018. It takes a lot of vigilance to avoid Facebook hackers as well as proper security on your system to avoid the less-obvious attacks. Here’s a look at 11 Facebook scams to look out for to keep your personal information safe and secure.
1 Fake Profile Scam
A scammer steals your name and photos and creates a second profile pretending to be you, then contacts your friends and family pretending to have an emergency that requires the transfer of money. This scam happens a lot in part because only about 1 in every 4 people searches for themselves online to see if anyone else is using their identity.
2 Impersonating a Celebrity
Imagine getting a message from your favorite movie star or musician, saying that they’re giving away money, prizes, and more. It’s not too far a stretch if you’re a fan of said celebrity on Facebook; plenty of them interact with their fans on occasion. But the scam rears its head when you get told you have to pay an entry fee or click a link to create your account. The prizes don’t exist, and the scammers are either stealing your money outright or installing some malware when you click the link.
3 Messenger Scam
The FBI has tipped off Facebook users that scammers use Facebook Messenger to send messages that appear to be from trusted sources, but are not, wanting users to click on malicious links or to share personal information.
4 Grants Scam
Who wouldn’t want to win a grant for academics or small business development? Scammers can see what groups you’re joining and use it to pray on your hopes. According to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, fake grant offers have seen consumers lose $361,744 in the past three years.
5 Clickbait Scam
Perhaps the oldest trick in the book but also one of the most effective. Clickbait offers scandalous gossip, naked photos of celebrities, and other “irresistible” offer in hopes of getting clicks to sites that download malware onto your computer. It’s not just about avoiding potential scams; it’s about having superior antivirus software on your computer to guard against the ones that do get through the cracks.
6 Fake Ads
When you search for a product or service on Facebook, don’t be surprised to get ads offering up something similar for sale. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fake ads want to lead you to malicious websites or trick you into entering personal or financial information they can exploit.
7 Romantic Scams
Thousands of people head for the Internet to find love, romance, and companionship, and scammers have no problem taking advantage of that. People use stolen photos and develop relationships online with others, using posts and private messages. Eventually, they’ll ask for money, often as a way to meet their Internet girlfriend/boyfriend in real life.
8 Military Scams
The military scam is the same as the romantic scam with an additional layer of trickery: since the scammer is pretending to be in the military, he or she cannot communicate via other methods or in person. These people often ask to be wired money or be sent prepaid or gift cards.
9 Free Money
Who doesn’t like something for free? This scam often targets working-class citizens and the elderly. The scammer pretends to be from the government, then requests clicking a link or paying a transfer fee to get the ball rolling.
10 Fake Yard Sales
Scammers will get on barter and trade groups in communities, offer goods for free or low prices, then rob the victims when they show up.
11 Fake Apps
Apps like “Guess who’s viewed your profile?” will be advertised. When you click on them, malware is installed onto your computer.