Facebook has more users than any other social media site. More than 2.8 billion people use it monthly to check in with family and friends, post updates, read the latest news, and maybe even do a little online shopping.
Due to its high traffic, the site is an easy target for hackers. In addition, due to the high volume of users, fraudsters have a sizable pool from which to draw. As a result, a large sum of money can be made by a fraudster, even if only a tiny percentage of their schemes succeed.
Scams on social media cost people hundreds of millions of dollars yearly, as reported by the FTC in the United States.
Most popular Facebook scams
One thing you can say about cyber criminals is that they’re creative. They continually develop sophisticated new methods of stealing from users of naive social media platforms. Most commonly, fraudsters target account login credentials, personal identifiers, and financial data.
There are different popular Facebook scams, as demonstrated in the picture below, and some of them are explained too:
Below, you’ll find more types and details about these scams.
- Phishing scams
Phishing emails, which have been around for a long time, can be used to pull off scams.
When you click on the link in a phishing email and read the text that goes with it, you might think you’re going to Facebook, but you’ll end up on a fake website that looks like the real thing.
The website you’re using may have been hacked. Sometimes, you may need to confirm the information you used to log in. More and more people are getting emails with links to reset their Facebook accounts. The email says that the account has been disabled for security reasons.
- Romance scams
Scammers often take advantage of vulnerable Facebook users by pretending to be possible romantic partners. These fake romantics have never been heard of before. Con artists use the romance scam to get you to trust them and use your feelings against you.
It is not a quick fix. It takes weeks or months of chatting before the hacker makes a pitch. They want you to send them money. It’s a hotspot for catfishing strangers online.
- You won! scams
It’s hard to say no when you have a chance to win something. Con artists will try to take advantage of your good mood. They might act like well-known people or reputable businesses. All you have to do is send a small fee to cover shipping and processing costs. Scan a QR code.
The goal is to get you to tell private information about yourself, like your bank account or credit card number. Once you fall for the scam, you won’t hear from the con artist again, and your personal information or bank account will be stolen.
- Fake friend request
This trick is so common on Facebook that everyone falls for it at some point. You get a friend request on Facebook from someone you’re sure you already know. Scammers often use complete copies of real Facebook accounts to make them look like real people.
Even if your Facebook account is locked down, you give the scammer insider access if you accept a fake request. They talk to you and get you to trust them to trick you into falling for other scams, like clicking on a fake link that downloads malware.
- Fake job scams
It’s easy to be tempted by the idea of making a lot of money with little or no work. But before you accept any anonymous offer, keep in mind that this is a common way for cybercriminals to get your personal information.
If you accept such an offer, you will be asked for your home address, SSN, and maybe a copy of your driver’s license or passport. A skilled thief can take your identity with just this information. Then, instead of having a job, your finances become a mess.
- Scams of discounts and coupons that don’t exist
Another tried-and-true method is to use the appeal of saving money. Hackers use many ways to tell people about these deals, but one of the most common is spreading fake apps that look like they offer discounts. It happens so often that it’s surprising and works very well.
The app is a dangerous Trojan horse. The user downloads malware onto their device in exchange for coupons or discounts. Once the malware is on your device, it can steal your personal information and send it to cybercriminals.
Recognizing Facebook scams
A common saying says that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is a scam. Take a moment to think about how likely it is that any offer looks too good to be true. Check the Facebook page advertising it. Read reviews and talk to people who have used it.
Another sign that you’ve found a Facebook scam is that the writing isn’t excellent. Scammers seldom use correct grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Be wary of any post or image that has text that looks like it was misspelled or is wrong in some other way. Careful observation is needed to spot a Facebook scam. You can avoid most online scams by being careful about the links you click and the conversations you start on social media.
Tips for avoiding Facebook scams
Following the tips below, you can stay safe and protect yourself from harm.
- Stop prying eyes compromising your Facebook privacy
Ensure your account is as secure as possible to avoid attracting the attention of hackers. Your profile pictures and cover photos can never be hidden, but you can restrict access to almost everything else on your page to people who aren’t already friends with you.
There are additional privacy settings you can adjust to maintain the security of your account. Methods for doing so online are detailed below.
- Open the Facebook app.
- To access the menu, tap the arrow down (on iOS) or the hamburger menu (on Android).
- Select Settings & Privacy from the menu.
- Tap Privacy Checkup on your iPhone. To access Android’s Privacy Checkup, select the Settings menu.
- Facebook will guide you through the standard privacy options and provide suggestions for each.
- Set up two-factor authentication
Turning on two-factor authentication for your Facebook account is a simple way to stop unauthorized access attempts. In addition to your username and password, you will need to enter a one-time code to get into your account from a place or device you don’t know. A text message or authenticator app on your phone will deliver this code to you.
Use the steps below to set up two-factor authentication on Facebook:
- First, open Facebook on your laptop or desktop computer.
- The down arrow is in the top right corner of the screen, and you have to click on it.
- Go to Settings & Privacy, then Settings, then Security & Login.
- Click the Edit button after choosing Two-Factor Authentication.
- Reject the friend requests from unknown people
It would be hard to screw this up. Make it a rule always to say no when unknown people send you a friend request. You shouldn’t connect with many people you don’t know or trust on Facebook unless your goal is to become a social media star.
If you have a lot of strange friends on Facebook, you are more likely to be scammed.
- Don’t respond to requests for money or personal details
If a friend sends you a private message asking for help, you should check with a friend outside of Facebook (often in the form of money). A real friend would never use Facebook Messenger to ask for help when they need it.
Use WhatsApp to contact them. Try to call them like you used to. Do whatever it takes to keep from getting ripped off. If someone asks for help through Facebook Messenger, it’s almost always a scam.
- Use a strong password
You shouldn’t use the same password for all of your accounts, no matter how tempting it is. Make sure that your unique password is also hard to guess. No one should no longer go by their mother’s maiden name or their oldest child’s birthday. Cybercriminals today are so savvy that it doesn’t take long to figure out even the most specific passwords.
Use a strong password from your browser’s password manager, a third-party app, or come up at your own (and store it in a safe place).
- Verify your login history frequently
Make sure you track where and on what devices your Facebook account is active. It’s a quick and easy way to block off access to anything that shouldn’t be there.
Find out how to audit your logins here.
- To access Facebook, open it on your device.
- A down arrow will appear; use it to navigate down the page.
- Make your way to Security & Login via Settings & Privacy Settings.
- Check the location where you’re logged in to ensure it’s correct. If you find any suspicious accounts, delete them.
- Search daily for new accounts opened in your name
Keep an eye out for new accounts that have been opened in your name.
Make it a habit to search Facebook for your name often to reduce the chance that someone will copy your account and use it for bad things. This one-minute process is the easiest way to find and get rid of duplicate accounts.
With the Report Profile button, you can let Facebook know about suspicious profiles. You can choose to Find Support or Report Profile if you click the three dots on a user’s profile.
The Best Ways to Deal With a Facebook Scam
Facebook scams can be very upsetting. Don’t freak out if you find out you’ve been scammed; instead, take swift action to minimize the damage.
There are many ways cybercriminals can hurt you:
- Malware infects your gadgets and shares itself with your friends.
- Putting up charges on a credit card.
- Emptying your savings.
- Damage to your credit.
- Spoof theft.
The following are measures you should take immediately for your own safety.
- Make Facebook aware of the scam by reporting
Reporting suspicious profiles, advertisements, posts, or messages takes seconds. Every single page, post, and private message has a Report link
- Must change your password
If you think someone else may have hacked your Facebook account, you should change your password immediately. Also, please change this password if it has been used on any other charges.
If hackers get your login information, they will probably try to use it to get into other accounts that they think are more valuable.
- Don’t risk it; put a hold on your credit
If you think someone has stolen and used your personal information, you should immediately freeze your credit. If you don’t, thieves can use your personal information to apply for credit cards, cell phone service, and even mortgages in your name. You could do a lot of damage to your credit score if you do this.
If you freeze your credit with the three main credit bureaus, you can stop this. But, then, no more credit applications can continue with your SSN or old names.
- Consider subscribing to an identity theft protection service
If hackers got into your Facebook account or put malware on your device, they might be able to get all the information they need to steal your identity. Unfortunately, you might be unable to find it in time to stop bad things from happening. More and more people are using services that constantly check your credit and other sensitive information for suspicious activity.
One of these companies is LifeLock. In our review, we talk in more depth about what they do and how they deal with the effects of identity theft. You can also get more information by going to their website.
Sum up: Stay vigilant to stay safe from scams
Facebook makes it easy to contact old friends and new relatives. Your favorite public figures, companies, and media outlets are easy to track. Unfortunately, social media has risks, like Facebook scams.
The best way to stay safe when you use the Internet and talk to others online is to be careful. Learn about the most common Facebook scams so you can avoid them. When reading a private message from someone else, you should always be careful. Don’t answer messages or requests to be friends with people you don’t know. You should never send money to someone you don’t know. Be careful when you’re online, and always use antivirus software.
By taking these commonsense steps, you can stay safe on Facebook and other sites like it.