Las Vegas public television reported earlier this week that a local Facebook user had almost fallen for a Facebook sweepstakes scam. The scammer had hacked into the woman’s friend’s account and sent her a private message with the phone number of a so-called Facebook official who she was to call in order to claim her prize — which her friend said she, too, had won. The woman called, gave the “official” all of her information and was asked to pay a $3000 handling fee. That’s when she grew suspicious.
Not all Facebook scams and hoaxes are as damaging (you might have heard about the more benign privacy scam that many users have fallen for recently), but they are all hard to spot, and several have been escalating in the past couple of weeks.
Watch out for these:
The Privacy Hoax
“Now it’s official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: $5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to “private”. If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste:
I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information, or posts, both past and future. By this statement, I give notice to Facebook it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, or take any other action against me based on this profile and/or its contents. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of privacy can be punished by law (UCC 1-308- 1 1 308-103 and the Rome Statute).
NOTE: Facebook is now a public entity. All members must post a note like this. If you prefer, you can copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once it will be tactically allowing the use of your photos, as well as the information contained in the profile status updates. DO NOT SHARE. You MUST copy and paste.”
The “Tagged in a Photo” Scam
Depending on your settings, you might receive automated emails from Facebook anytime someone sends you a private message, replies to a post or tags you in a photo. But not very email you receive from “Facebook” is for real. If you get a message telling you that you’ve been tagged, take a close look. You might notice that the email comes from a “Faceboook.com” address (with three “o”s), or the scammers might have changed that by now. Either way, don’t click on the link — it could lead you to inadvertently downloading malware to your computer. If you have indeed been tagged, the image will show upon your timeline. Go straight to Facebook and take a look there after first deleting the email.
The “Dislike Button” Scam
You might have heard that Facebook is planning to introduce a new button for people who don’t find everything on the social network likable. Once the new button is ready, Facebook will almost certainly inform users on their Facebook pages; you won’t learn about it through a link to an external site. So watch out for posts in your newsfeed that claim to be linking you to a website where you an get your new dislike button. The link in the post actually takes users to a site that will first ask you to share the link you just clicked on with your friends – and then it will redirect you to a page that will ask for your personal information.
- Anytime you get an email from Facebook, consider going straight to where the link in the email says it’s going to take you, rather than clicking on the link. That page will usually be your own timeline.
- Know that Facebook will never ask you to download anything from an external website.
- When you receive a personal message or see a post on Facebook that sounds too good to be true (“You won the sweepstakes!”), it probably is.