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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

How to Keep Facebook from Turning Into Facecrook

By Catherine Powell

Image courtesy PxHere

Facebook is by far the world's most popular social network with more than 3 billion active users.  Unfortunately, it's also reportedly one of the most prolific hunting grounds for scammers, with more than 62% of users encountering fraudulent offers of one kind of another on a weekly basis.  If you want to network with your friends on Facebook without being ripped off, hacked, or having your heart broken, you need to be aware of the tactics used by con artists to get you to do things that will get you burned.  With that in mind, here are the top-10 scams currently being seen on Facebook.

#1: You've Won! - Online contests are nothing new.  They've been around since the Internet was started in the 90's.  Some are run by well-known companies.  The problem nowadays is it's all too easy to clone any website in order to get people to cough up personal information which can then be sold on the dark web for cold, hard cash.  Before you sign up for a contest you see on Facebook, check with the sponsoring organization to see if it's legitimate.  You could be shocked to discover that no such contest exists.

#2: Go Fund My Scam - Crowdfunding is a multibillion dollar business.  It's being used to fund everything from inventions to charities to motion pictures these days.  Unfortunately, it's also a great way to scam people out of money.  Before you donate to any crowdfunding pitch you discover on Facebook or any other social network, check out the organizer to make sure they're for real.  Several years ago, a friend of mine got a call from a business associate who asked him to tell her more about a charity he posted on Facebook.  My friend said, "What charity is that?"  The bad news is someone had cloned his Facebook page before posting a fake charity and notifying his Facebook friends.  The good news is after notifying Facebook, the clone was quickly taken down.  To this day my friend considers himself lucky that he got that phone call.

Image courtesy Pixabay

#3: I'd I love to - Online dating is at an all time high.  The problem is, so are swindlers who use the allure of romance to fleece unsuspecting victims.  The way the con works is to get you to reveal personal information (which can later be sold on the dark web), or send revealing photos of yourself (which can then be used to try to blackmail you).  Some of these romance swindles are run by sophisticated boiler room operations in places like the Philippines where prosecution is next to impossible.  Clues that your romance could be leading you to ruin are things like spelling or grammatical errors, too many personal questions, or a romance that seems to be developing too quickly.  (Scammers don't want to waste any more time ripping off victims than they have to.) 

#4: Help Wanted - Fake work for hire scams abound on social nets.  They offer superior compensation, fantastic perks, and/or the ability to work from home.  Apply for one of these and the only thing that will get worked is you, because this con is designed to get you to reveal things like your social security number, or pay fees that will go right into the thief's pocket.  Just like romance scams, job scams progress quickly and a con artist will pressure victims into moving things along at breakneck speed.  If a fake employer gets their hands on you, the only thing that will be worked over is your wallet.

#5: Shoot the Messenger- There's a common Facebook Messenger scam that works by asking if you're in a posted photo or video.  The message will appear to come from one of your friends who provides not only the photo or video, but a link that will purportedly take you to the website where he or she found your face.  Click on the link and you'll either be redirected to a bogus website or your device will be immediately infected with malware.  If you should receive such a message DO NOT click on the link or reply to the message.  If the message is from someone you know well, call or text them to ask if they sent you the message.  If they didn't send it, report it to Facebook and tell your friend that his or her account has been compromised.  

#6: Always Question Authority - Another scam some phishers use to get you to drop your guard is to pose as a representative of Facebook who's trying to alert you to a security breach.  They do this to scare you before setting the hook by telling you that there's been suspicious activity on your page, or they believe that someone has taken over your page.  They'll then ask you to click on a link to log in which will lead you to a clone of a Facebook login page that's designed to steal your user credentials.  

#7: Buy!  Sell! - Facebook Marketplace is a great place to buy and sell goods.  Unfortunately, it's also a great place to get scammed.  The first telltale sign of trouble is when the item being offered for sale is priced way below market value.  The first sign of a bogus buyer is one who asks you to take a check for payment.  Either way, if you seal these deals you'll either be out your product or your money.

Image courtesy Pixabay

#8: Big Discounts Found Here! - Everyone wants to save money.  That's a given.  But you have to be wary of downloading apps that promise to deliver big discounts.  Some of these apps are designed to deliver only one thing and that's malware.  Never rely on an ad that you find on any social net that promises to save you big money until you find out if it's carried on Google Play or Apple's App Store.  They both verify that any apps carried by them aren't going to make you a deal you can't refuse.

#9: Leave these loans alone - If you ever receive an offer of an online loan on Facebook or any other social net, don't believe it even if it appears to be from a major bank.  It's all too easy to clone sites these days to phish for personal and financial information.  Fill out any of the loan applications provided by a fake bank and the only loan you're going to need is the one required to help you fight identity theft.

#10: Live and Let Die - Did you know that Facebook Live can be used to rob you blind. How? Hackers who've managed to take over major Facebook accounts belonging to celebrities can broadcast a video call to action to encourage viewers to make an investment or charitable donation.  Of course, the investment is bogus, as is the charity to which you'll be directed.  If you value your hard-earned money, make sure you check with any celebrity fan page to see if they're behind the offer, or if they need to be notified that an interloper is using their good name to fleece their fans. 

Catherine Powell is the owner of A Plus All Florida, Insurance in Orange Park, Florida.  To find out more ways to save on flood insurance, check out her website at


  1. The Internet is being turned form a helpful resource into Scam Central.

  2. You have to keep a close eye on all larger tech companies especially social media compaies. They do get greedy from time to time untill the goverment reels them in or we the people stop using them.


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