With more than a billion active users from all over the world and thousands creating new accounts every month, Facebook is a scamster’s haven.
A place where they can have access to personal information of all the users and later use it to turn the tables against them.
A place where new users can be made to share personal information like various passwords, …credit card details and internet banking passwords most unsuspectingly.
Simply because people are naïve enough to fall for traps which have been cleverly laid down for them.
Most Common Facebook Scams
Listed below are the most common scams and frauds I have seen, in no particular order.
Apps Which Promise Adding Of New Features
Most people are tricked into scams when they are offered a ‘feature’ which allows them greater control over its usability or to add to its functionalities. People are tricked into clicking on ‘adding’ these apps to their account when they see these messages flashed on their friends’ walls. Most common hoaxes of this type are:
Add a “Dislike” button. That’s like the biggest LOL for me! C’mmon. Just think- if Zuckerberg indeed wanted to give you that option, he wouldn’t have needed a separate app for the purpose. It would have been as easy for him to provide a “Dislike” option as it was to provide a “Like” or “Comment” one.
Know who has deleted you from his/ her friends list. If you are promised this, just keep 1 thing in mind- this is just a clever trick to get your email id, login password and the access to your wall.
Find out your best friends/ deadliest enemies. – if you could not know that after all those years, do you seriously expect Facebook to be smarter than you are? And if you do, just goes to prove how dumb you are!
Find out how many hours you spent on Facebook.
Find out how and/or when you are going to die.
Add an app which will ‘safeguard’ you against hacking, misuse of your personal information.
2.How to Deactivate Timeline Scams?
Ever since the “Timeline” was introduced, many users miss the simple, old Facebook which was much more user-friendly and less cluttered.
Scamsters, who know how to get the better of people, offer them apps which can enable them disable the Timeline on their Facebook accounts.
3. Change Your Facebook Theme Color
This is another very popular Facebook scam, which actually got a lot more success than it deserved.
The phishers in this case were not too smart. But the public was sillier. 😉
With the result that it had millions of ‘subscribers’ within a few months.
We all know that Facebook profile color is blue. Some people, in a bid to add more color their otherwise boring lives (tongue-in-cheek) yield in to the curiosity of checking out how their profile would look if it were purple or pink.
Once the users click on this link, they are asked to LIKE the app. That too without having checked it out!
People who can’t smell a rat here and carry on with the ‘installation’ of this app are then asked for permission to “Access Your Facebook Account”.
If you click on the “ACCEPT” button, you are allowing the scamsters behind that app to send out spam messages from your profile to your friends’ walls, know their personal details like addresses, phone numbers and email id’s and a lot more than you could even imagine!
As if that was not enough, you will then be asked to fill out a survey form before you are allowed to install it.
Not worth the risk, buddy!
4. Check Out Who Is Viewing Your Profile
This is another extremely popular Facebook scam which comes in the form of various apps and offers, most of which are hoaxes. Facebook never intended to lets its users know who all are checking out on their profiles and mentions the same in its “Terms and Conditions” in unambiguous terms. Most such apps will throw up random names from your list or your friends’ list just to cover up their nefarious activities.
If you click on any such links form apps promising to do the same for you, you are being tricked into granting total strangers the permission to post random stuff on your wall, your friends’ wall, your passwords, etc.
Just imagine the consequences of sharing your personal details and data with people you know nothing about and who are extremely likely to misuse it.
5. Gifts From Facebook Itself
Then there are scams which promise you free personalized gifts for being the ‘lucky user’ on Zuckerberg’s birthday, a free mug with your picture on his anniversary, a t-shirt Facebook’s birthday, free credits on Easter, a mobile recharge on Thanksgiving, a free pizza from Pizza Hut and so on.
The smarter ones even offer iPads and iPods…as if they were actually apples growing off trees. 😀
Most of such rewards become available to you once you send out invites to a certain number of people on your list.
6. Other Gifts/ iPad Scams
Apart from gifts from the social networking site itself, there are people who promise to deliver you an iPhone, an iPad or $1billion because you won a lottery which you never participated in.
“The senior security advisor at Sophos (a renowned security firm), Chester Wisniewski, says, “Be wary of unlikely promises. No one is giving away an iPad to every person who fills out a survey and you aren’t likely the specially chosen winner of the Nokia, Microsoft or Coca-Cola lottery, because there isn’t one.”
7. Scams Involving Videos, Pictures And Texts
There are so many enticing videos, texts and photos over Facebook which cause curiosity to get the better of us, and cause us to click on spam links.
Haven’t you ever come across messages like:
“I cant believe a Dad could do this to his daughter…”,
Whenever you come across messages like this where the sender of such links wants you to check out a picture, video or text message which sounds hilariously funny or unbelievable, keep in mind that there guy who put that up for you is waiting for you to click on it. And you are likely to be tricked into something shady or malicious if you do so.
And if you go ahead with the trap that has been cleverly laid out for you, you might be downloading malware and spyware into your system.
Not only that, a hidden code in most such links causes the link to appear on your Timeline with the message that, “XYXY BNBNBN just saw this video or picture”, so that other people on your list also click on it.
If the video contains a porn link, you might have to face embarrassment later.
Worse still, it is like handing over your personal computer to hackers and scamsters.
8. Facebook Closing Down Scams
There are tricksters who manage to convince some users on this networking site tht Facebook is shutting down soon due to too many users, or is on its way to becoming a paid service or their pages are likely to be suspended.
They are then asked to disclose their email id and password, so that they can get informed about such action in time!
I hope you are now smart enough to make out what this will lead to!
9. Scams That Touch The Soft Corner In You
I spend a good part of my day online because of the nature of my work. And since I communicate with most fellow bloggers on this site, it is open in one of my tabs as long as I am on my laptop.
I recently saw an app which tried to dupe innocent people into sending it a few dollars to support a wounded soldier.
10. Fake Notifications
I know friends who have come across Facebook scams in the form of fake notification emails from either Facebook or made to look like it was sent by Facebook. These fake notifications are often in the form of warnings about deactivation or cancellation of account, changing of password, notices for offensive comments, etc.
What Do Facebook Scamsters Want?
- As I have already mentioned above, the scamsters on Facebook are basically after:
- Your email id and, if possible, your password too.
- Your phone number
- Facebook login id (both username and password) so that they can send spam messages to people on your list using YOUR id.
- Other personal information like credit card details, PAN number, etc
- The permission to post on your wall and your friends’ wall.
- Cause you to download malware, viruses and spyware in the form of ‘updates’ to your ‘outdated’ softwares and plugins.
- Ask you to fill online survey forms, for which you will get no benefit but the scammers will get paid
These were the 10 most common Facebook scams and frauds I have come across during my four year old stay here. I am sure there are many more frauds which I cannot recall at the moment. If there are any such scams you have come across, please share them with our readers.
I sincerely hope that knowing about Facebook scams and frauds can help many new internet users who are not aware of the dangers ahead.
And also some not-so-smart Facebook users who are quick to click on almost all apps ‘just for fun’.
In our next article coming up soon, we will tell our readers how to avoid these scams and minimize the threat(s) caused by them.