how to avoid facebook scams

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  • How to Avoid Facebook ScamsWith more than 1.3 billion users all over the world, Facebook is the perfectbreeding ground for scam artists. Every Facebook user has their accountinterlinked with hundreds or even thousands of their friends. With theexponential amount of users connected to each other Facebook scams requireonly a few clicks to reach to colossal levels. The peril arises when a scam is spreadthrough someones account using the friend list as a medium as this considerablylowers the unsuspecting users guard. So in effect, all it takes is one moment ofweakness by one individual on your friends list to start off a chain of events thatcan prove harmful to one and all.

    This phenomenon has been termedSocial Engineering since it involves predicting human behavior based on a studyof common user habits and general psychological traits. Piquing a users curiositywith a sensational headline can cause one to fall prey to legitimate looking scams.Some scams take the user to a page that asks for their Facebook login credentials,some ask for personal details about the user which are then misused, some directthe user to install a program that is malware in disguise, some ask for moneywhile some account for a lot of spam.

    Common Types of Facebook ScamsThe best defense against the real-time risks of Facebook scams is to simply be aware ofthe possible forms that these scams can take and the probable danger associated withthem. An individual with a greater knowledge of such matters will always be betterprotected and more careful than an ignorant one. Additionally, if you have effectiveantiviruses functioning on your machine you can enjoy complete protection againstvarious infections that may cause harm. Lets take a look at some of the most commonlyseen Facebook scams.

  • 1. Profile Viewers and Blockers Facebook DOES NOT provide details about thefrequency and identity of people who have viewed your profile. Nor does itprovide information about who has blocked you from viewing their profile. Anyapplication or post that claims to divulge this information to you is untrustworthyand is potentially trying to harm you or gather sensitive information. Facebooksssecurity policy states that Users should have total control over their personalinformation and they should be able to access the information other users wish toshare. Needless to say, detailed information about profile visits and blockedfriends is not included in this.

    2. Fake Celebrity Stories Almost everyone loves reading about some juicy celebritygossip, especially if it is about someone who has been in the news lately. Scamartists use this phenomenon to their advantage by posting fake links with eye-catching headlines that some people find hard to resist. The latest in a long line ofsuch scams is the headline stating OMG! I Cant Believe That DHONI Can DoThis!. Coming up with such shocking and sensational headlines is a simple way todupe users. Clicking on the link takes the user to a page that looks similar to aFacebook page and asks the user to share the link before the video plays. Asexpected, however the video never plays.

  • 3. Breaking News Using shocking headlines to get peoples attention has long been acommon trick of scam artists. Such headlines prompt unsuspecting users to clickon malicious links that direct them to pages asking for personal details and otherdata. In most cases, clicking the link does not even take you to the page that ismentioned which is a clear example of a fraudulent page. The latest in this line ofFacebook scams is a link to a video that carries the message RollercoasterAccident in California.

  • 4. 419 scam popularly known as the Nigerian scam, this term has been traced back to1992 by the American Dialect Society. This is an advance-fee fraud where in thescam artist poses as a wealthy individual who is having trouble transferring fundsto an overseas location. He then proceeds to ask you for your assistance andpromises a large sum of money, a small part of his fortune, in exchange for yourpersonal details and of course, some of your hard earned money. There are manyvariations of this scam, but unfortunately, there are many gullible people who endup falling for such tricks.

  • 5. Help, Im stranded and Need Money If you get a post from one of your friendsstating that theyre in a foreign city and have been mugged or robbed or putthrough some other unpleasant event, you must treat the post with extremecaution. In most cases, the post requires you to transfer some money forassistance, but if you come across something like this you can be rest assured thatyour friends account and login details have been compromised. You must contacthim/her and pass on this information as soon as possible.

    6. Free Gift Cards and Products Everyone loves some freebies now and then, so somescam artists try to take advantage of this by offering free gift cards, coupons,Facebook credits and other valuable products. The most common being iPhoneand iPad giveaways, especially upcoming models and there are many who fall preyto such temptations. Some scams come in the form of a post by a Facebook friendclaiming they have won a new iPhone or iPad. A latest scam carries the title Get aFREE pair of Toms Shoes (Limited Time Only). Clicking on the link takes you to afraudulent page that asks you to Share and Like the page which is then spread toyour friends.

  • 7. Fake Facebook Security Pages Almost every Facebook user has genuine fears abouttheir security and privacy being compromised. Some scam artists feed on thisparanoia and create fake Facebook security pages or blogs and ask people to entertheir login data. As a user you need to read the URL of such links very carefully andalso be very careful about where you enter your login credentials. Once yourinformation is entered in such places, your account can be immediately used as abreeding ground for nefarious activities.

  • 8. Facebook Security Hoaxes About a month back a hoax message started doing therounds on Facebook. The message stated that Facebook hackers were accessinguser accounts and posting insulting messages from the hacked users account. Thisis a post that a lot of people took seriously and shared with their friends, only toeventually realize that the message itself was nothing but spam. This is justanother example of effective social engineering on how scam artists manipulatethe emotions of a user to get their way.

  • 9. Hidden Fee for Apps There has been several cases where a user installs anapplication over Facebook and is asked for their phone number or credit carddetails. These details are then used to deduct installation fees for the application,thus classifying itself as a scam. Divulging such information to an unknown anduntrustworthy source is just asking for trouble. These pieces of data can bemanipulated and misused with considerable ease. If you find an app from anunknown source asking for personal details from you, refrain from releasing suchinformation and do not install the application.

  • Measures to Avoid Facebook Scams

    1. If a link takes you to a page other than the one specified, you must close thewindow immediately. This is the first sign of an illegitimate link. Moreover, if a linkis taking too long to open you must be cautious and consider closing the windowas well. The reason for this is that some hackers make the link address bouncebetween proxy servers so as to hide details about their location. Being aware ofsuch small details is something that will protect you from falling for such scams.Here are some additional habits you must inculcate to avoid such scenarios:

    2. Verify App Authors Before installing any application you must check thecredibility and the authenticity of the author of that application. A simple Googlesearch will provide you with enough information to help you make the rightdecision. If you find an author suspicious you must refrain from installing the appthat is being offered. You should realize that installing tempting apps is not anecessity. You can do without them if that means protecting yourself from illicitactivities.

  • 3. Read User Experiences While youre carrying out a Google search to verify theauthor of an application, you can also read some user experiences of the app.Most of the people who have bad experiences or discover that an app is actuallya scam share this information over online platforms and you will easily locatesuch information, if it exists. Spending a few minutes gathering as muchknowledge as possible about a certain application is something that will certainlyaid you in the long run.

  • 4. Delete Unwanted Applications If you encounter problems with a certainapplication you installed, then you must revoke its permissions and remove itfrom your Facebook account immediately. In order to achieve this you need toclick on Account at the top right corner of the screen, then click on ApplicationSettings, select Authorized from the Show drop-down box and then selectthe X button at the far end of the application that you wish to delete. In thesubsequent pop-ups you need to select Remove and then select Okay tocomplete this process.

  • 5. Do Not Give Money Almost all Facebook scams require you to transfer moneythrough a specified channel. By refusing to indulge in the transfer of any cash youcan protect yourself from a majority of the scams th