How to Spot and Avoid Facebook Scams
Digital technology has transformed the world. Due to the advent of digital technology we are proud to be citizens of a global village. But there is a flip side of the digital world. We are vulnerable to cybercrime or e-crime. A cybercriminal may attack us from anywhere in the world using the computer and connected telecommunication devices.
The social networking site Facebook is a big success story but it is susceptible to frauds as it is linked to the global network of digital devices. The global social networking site has nearly 2.5 billion subscribers. But there are reports that people have lost millions of money by frauds committed through Facebook impersonations.
How scammers target you on Facebook
In Facebook posts, we end up putting vital personal information. Fraudsters are smart enough to find further details and defraud us. A fraudster may target us by placing a scam ad or message. We are in trouble by clicking on such messages because it is likely that such fake offers will repeat and we may finally make some mistake
Impersonation, or appearing as someone prominent is found to be a major method of cheating people on Facebook. It is reported that fraudsters appeared as finance expert Martin Lewis on Facebook, ran ads and managed to defraud people’s money. It is also possible that someone may impersonate as a friend and ask you to click on a link to misguide you. Such friendly advice needs to be re-verified in person and ensure that no mistake is made.
Sometimes details provided on personal profiles are sufficient to defraud us. Name, address, and date of birth details may be sufficient for a fraudster to access bank accounts to debit money or get loans sanctioned. Privacy setting updation may be one way to protect us from such incidents.
Romance is another tool used by scammers to defraud someone. Such scammers impersonate as a romantic male, female, divorced individual, widowed or someone in a bad marriage. They send romantic messages to build up trusts and finally ask for money.
Sometimes a Facebook post may declare you to be the winner of a lottery. This post will come from a well-known agency. On scrutiny, it will be found that the agency is impersonated. The purpose of the scammer is just to get your account details.
A Facebook post may also give a fake job posting. The job scammers may offer very lucrative jobs and in turn, will ask for some upfront payment.
An extortion scam message may also appear as a Facebook post. Extortionists may threaten that you have been filmed and some ransom may be demanded. Such messages need to be ignored, blocked and reported. Also, someone may write a misleading post on a specialized subject and then offer solutions to some personal problem in return for money. Such posts need to be re-verified through experts.
How to protect yourself from Facebook scams
The first step to avoid a possible scam is the acknowledgment that scammers exist. Extra care is required in dealing with unsolicited requests, advice or posts. New unknown contacts need to be researched thoroughly. Suspicious contacts, links or texts must be deleted. Appropriate use of privacy settings and the use of passwords may help prevent scams. While doing login one should be careful that he is using the correct URL and not doing in a fake Facebook. It is also necessary to log out when using a common computer. Poor grammar, spelling, strange companies are indicators of scams.
Facebook has its own dedicated e-Crime team which is on the job of identifying and deleting scams. Also, Facebook provides a link to report possible scams through the link https://www.facebook.com/help/reportlinks. All reported scams are thoroughly reviewed as per Facebook standard guidelines.