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  • Writer's pictureMike Cooper

How to spot a Facebook scam

Facebook Scammer wearing a hoodie saying shush

Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family, and to see whom amongst them is mildly racist. It is also a great platform for businesses like SMH, to raise awareness of our products and services, offer technology help and advice, and attract new customers.

However, whilst SMH are using it for legitimate purposes, many more “businesses” out there aren’t, and they are desperately waiting for you to click ‘like’...

Clicking on to a site from a “promotional” offer on Facebook could lead your computer or mobile device to be infected by a virus or malware. Or could compromise your personal data - and that of your friends and family. (Even those pesky mildly racist ones).

Ways to spot scams

To be honest, I’m flabbergasted at some of the pages/competitions that I have seen shared by people to my own timeline over the years. For starters, think about what they are offering?

“We had 50 Range Rover Evokes damaged by bird droppings so we’re having to give them away for free.”

“The corner of these 100 iPad boxes have been damaged so we are giving them away.”

“We are celebrating our 22nd Birthday so we are giving away 250 x £500 shopping vouchers.”

Okay, so these might be slightly tongue-in-cheek examples, but they are usually along the same lines.

The basic rule of thumb is this: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

Be wary of who is promoting the “competition”

If ‘Dizney’ are giving away trips to the Magic Kingdom, there’s a chance that it isn’t legitimate! Again, this is an over-the-top example, but I’ve seen some pretty obvious fakes that still seem to have been seen as legitimate by an awful lot of people.

One that comes to mind from a few years ago was from ‘Ford UK.’ They were giving away some cars. However, clicking on the page you could see that it had been recently created. Strange, that one of the largest car manufacturers in the world only now have decided to have a Facebook page in the UK! And, to celebrate that fact, they decided to give away a quarter of a million pounds worth of cars! 🤔

REMEMBER: If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

A two-second search on Facebook would have shown you that the official Ford UK page was a verified account, and had been in operation for more than a decade - with hundreds of posts! Yes, they may have even run the odd competition here and there, but never for an actual car! Whereas, as we said earlier, this supposed ‘Ford UK’ page had been recently created, and only had one post.

Other things to look out for

Other tell-tale signs include:

· The comments on the page – they are usually by fake Facebook accounts, click on the names however and they will rarely take you to an actual Facebook profile.

· Poor spelling or grammar (although this isn’t always a tell-tale sign as you will no doubt know from your own friends and family’s posts! 👀)

· Being asked to provide access to personal information before you can ‘like’ the competition page or add a comment

Be wary of ‘clickbait’

Another type of Facebook scam involves tempting you to click on a link or page out of interest, outrage, or morbid curiosity - not just in the hope of winning a competition or gaining something.

It will usually involve phrasing such as “So and so doesn’t want you to see this” or “You’ll never guess what X looks like now” or, incredibly, “see the last moments of this rollercoaster before it crashes.” Nah, you’re alright thanks!

Scammers are wise to the fact that some people however, cannot resist this sort of content. Even the rollercoaster one! So, they often use lures like those above, to persuade people to visit/like their pages. These pages could then potentially introduce viruses or malware or can just be a phishing exercise in getting you to a visit a certain page, which they then make money from having directed you to it.

What can you do?

Delete Facebook?

Tempting at times! But seriously folks, if your feed shows you something that looks a bit dodgy, or is talking about salacious or horrifying content, chances are it isn’t real. (Hopefully!)

Google that same phraseology and you will often see people have reported it as fake or a scam.

However, if you do end up clicking on one of these pages, you will often be asked for further information (almost always personal information). Or to ‘verify’ something. (In most cases to verify you are actually human and not a bot.) They do this in order to impress upon you that the site is legit, when in actual fact they are trying to get as much information out of you as they can, in order to use that information for potentially nefarious purposes.

A good rule of thumb is that any page that requires you to take a survey, or install anything, should be closed as soon as possible.

It is always a good idea to make sure your antivirus software is up-to-date and that you have reviewed your Facebook’s privacy settings.

Above all, please, please remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is!

Got any questions about how to keep your business safe? Get in touch!


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