Quizzes, games, and surveys can seem like a good alternative to scrolling through your newsfeed, but they can also be a deceptive way for malicious websites to get your profile information or access to your internet browser. We’re here to tell you how to avoid Facebook scams like these.
Those articles about your favorite celebrity “you have to see to believe” are tempting, but what’s being installed on your computer when you click to learn more?
These days, it may seem like there’s no way to know what’s a malicious attempt at accessing your data and what’s the latest social media trend being shared. We’re here to help by giving you some tips for avoiding some of the most common security threats on Facebook.
Be wary of links shared to your personal Facebook feed.
A friend posted a link to the latest diet craze or some awesome discount codes for Ray-Ban sunglasses on your Facebook timeline? Don’t chance it. This could be a tell-tale sign your friend’s account is compromised and has automatically posted this to your profile – hoping you’ll fall for it as well.
Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know personally.
It may be tempting to expand your network, but don’t chance it – even if Facebook says you have a couple mutual friends. If you don’t know them to be a real person, they very well could be a scammer who happened to also connect with some of your friends. Once a user is connected as a friend, they have access beyond your public security settings and can begin gathering photos and information needed to spoof (or clone) your account. They may also send malware-filled links through news feed posts and messages. Clicking on those links could lead to a hacked account or infected computer.
Lock down your Facebook profile to avoid Facebook scams.
Be sure your posts, photos, friends list, about information, and other data is only visible to friends. We don’t recommend allowing any data to be visible to the public as a default. The less scammers can see, the harder it is to get to you.
Watch for misspellings, “ugly” links, and other tell-tale signs.
Scammers apparently don’t have time to spell check or worry about aesthetics when they’re out scamming. You’ll often find misspelled words in their messages or news feed posts. Also, if a website preview image or link suggests a click will take you to local news or a legitimate website but the URL in the post or link preview looks complicated and unfamiliar, you’re better off not clicking.
Report suspicious posts to Facebook and hacked friends.
Facebook has a user-friendly process for reporting spam, hoaxes, and compromised accounts. On any post, click the menu button at the top right of the post and follow the options to Report Post.
At the same time, notify your Facebook friend that their account has been compromised. It’s best if you can reach out to them outside of Facebook, and never comment or click on the spammy post. Help your friends avoid Facebook scams to stop their spread online.
Steer clear of surveys, games, or articles that require access or personal info.
It’s tempting to find out which Game of Thrones character is most likely to be your best friend, or auto-generate what you’ll look like in 50 years… we get it. But the truth is that many of these apps, surveys, and games come loaded with requests for personal data or account access.
All it takes is one click or form submission to get the approval they need to download, use, archive, and sometimes sell your personal data. You’re better off not risking it with trivial quizzes and photo generators.
As a rule, be skeptical and vigilant.
These tips are helpful, but they won’t keep you out of all the trouble that scammers bring to Facebook. If it looks suspicious, don’t click it.