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In the past, we wrote about then-current Facebook scams to watch out for The Top 5 Current Facebook Scams To Watch Out For The Top 5 Current Facebook Scams To Watch Out For Read More , and Angela has covered fake Facebook pages to avoid Crazy Fake Facebook Page Scams You Don't Want To Fall For [Weekly Facebook Tips] Crazy Fake Facebook Page Scams You Don't Want To Fall For [Weekly Facebook Tips] Most people think they can spot a Facebook scam when they see one, but the truth is that these scams are getting pretty good at blending in. You could fall for it too. Read More . It’s great to know about these problems, but unfortunately, nobody can predict the future and these articles can’t be published until a big scam happens.

Facebook is a huge target for the new generation of con artists, because there’s such a large user base who can be scammed without any face-to-face contact How to Prevent Text and Instant Messaging from Smothering a Relationship How to Prevent Text and Instant Messaging from Smothering a Relationship Ladies and gents, ever heard of the old phrase, "Absence makes the heart grow fonder?" It's not just some silly cliché. In fact, it's quite possibly more relevant in this day and age than it... Read More . Although you’ve taken precautions to secure your privacy on Facebook with our unofficial guide, falling for a trick is still possible, and the results can end in tears. Even if you never encounter a scam that tries to steal money, by avoiding these plagues you’ll save at least time and headaches. Let’s take an ounce of prevention and diagnose how to spot and avoid these scams.

Shady Or Unsolicited Messages

Messages are a great feature of Facebook, allowing an easy place to chat with friends whose phone numbers you may not have. Facebook has filtering in place to attempt to keep messages away from people you don’t know, but sometimes it doesn’t work too well.

The “other” folder is reserved for this. You might get the occasional message asking you to promote some lame band or website, which are harmless.


But if you get one that looks like this, report is as spam and delete it immediately. Don’t even bother with a reply.



This one is a classic Nigerian Scam Do Nigerian Scam Emails Hide A Terrible Secret? [Opinion] Do Nigerian Scam Emails Hide A Terrible Secret? [Opinion] Another day, another spam email drops into my inbox, somehow working its way around the Windows Live spam filter that does such a good job of protecting my eyes from all of the other unsolicited... Read More – an obvious attempt at stealing your personal information. But they won’t all look like this; some may come from a person with a real-looking name and profile picture. If you’ve never heard of the person, disregard the message; someone who really needs to get in contact with you will find another way.

Expensive Free Stuff

Let’s make something clear, once and for all. Aside from legitimate giveaways on sites you know to be trustworthy (like MakeUseOf Giveaways), you will never receive expensive items for free online. When you see a new Facebook picture advertising a site selling iPads for $2, it’s a fraud.


In this real example, a page promises a free iPad – once you like and share a guy’s website page and refer a paying customer. Really, that’s anything but free. So, what this boils down to is someone’s attempt to promote his business. What’s sad is that people leave personal comments on this page, sharing stories about their ill relatives and how an iPad could change their lives. It’s sickening.


Another common source of fakes is a high-profile person supposedly giving away loads of cash. One that happens often is Bill Gates giving away a billion dollars – all you have to do is like and share a picture! For some reason, though, this picture looks like a police shot of stolen money. Further, why would Bill Gates have pictures of cash from a country other than the USA?


Think about this logically for a moment. First, if Bill Gates were to give away any significant amount of money, he wouldn’t do it through Facebook. Second, can you imagine how difficult it would be to track every single person that likes and shares one photo? Third, why would there be a new giveaway every other week? Keep in mind that any old loser can make a page with a Google Image search 7 Vital Google Image Search Hacks 7 Vital Google Image Search Hacks Where do you go when you need to search for something? Probably Google. Where do you go when you need to find images? I’m guessing the same again. Google’s image search has been around for... Read More picture of Bill Gates.

Not enough people ask these questions, evidently, because here’s some of the comments on one of these Bill Gates giveaways:


Bill Gates may be better than Batman Is Bill Gates Better Than Batman? [INFOGRAPHIC] Is Bill Gates Better Than Batman? [INFOGRAPHIC] It's the question that has been asked time and time again through the ages - is Bill Gates better than Batman? Or does the Caped Crusader come out on top every time? Well let's examine... Read More , but he will never give away money to a random citizen of Facebook. You’re never going to receive free tickets to concerts, either. Do you really think that someone who doesn’t know how to use apostrophes correctly Shows How To Use an Apostrophe Shows How To Use an Apostrophe Read More is going to be giving away expensive tickets? How convenient that the page always needs more likes and shares to give out the goods.


If it’s not immediately obvious whether a contest is legitimate or not, you can use a couple of methods to find out. Before you do, however, check for the blue check mark on the Facebook page. That’s the Verified symbol, and it shows that you’re viewing the true page for a company. Anybody could create a page called Disney Fans! that’s just fan-made – even if it has thousands of “likes,” it isn’t guaranteed to be legit.


If you’re still not sure, use these steps. First, check how old the page is. If it was made last week and is promising a brand new car, it’s crap. Unsurprisingly, the Bill Gates page was created on July 11, 2014, a bit over two weeks before this article’s writing. Just because a page is older doesn’t mean it’s okay, however.

The One Direction “Ticket’s” [sic] page was put up in April of 2012, but do you really think they’ve handed out freebies for more than two years? Unfortunately, it’s the opposite: they’ve been fooling people and wasting their time for that long. Evidently, Sandy Akok has been looking for tickets for those two years, spouting off the same story, and still hasn’t gotten any.


Second, look for Terms and Conditions 10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To 10 Ridiculous EULA Clauses That You May Have Already Agreed To Let’s be honest, no one reads EULA's (End User Licensing Agreement) - we all just scroll down to the bottom and click "I Accept". EULAs are full of confusing legalese to make them incomprehensible to... Read More for the contest. Most legitimate sites and promotions have a set of terms that lays out how long the giveaway lasts, how you’ll receive your prize, various disclaimers, and region info. These scams have none of that; instead they promise arbitrary amounts of goods with no set date. There are other telling signs besides these, but 99% of scams you come across can be busted with this information.

Low Quality Or Sexual Images

Images are extremely important in today’s online society, since people have such short attention spans. If you want people to read your article, a great header image is important. A YouTube video with a generic thumbnail likely won’t take off. Without a doubt, images grab attention. If you need proof, just look:


These “fail” compilation videos get millions of views, and it’s largely because their thumbnails are typically scantily-clad women. It’s a cheap trick to get people to click on them, and it clearly works. Don’t fall for the same ruse and click on the sexy thumbnail someone sends you in an image, or the ridiculous model-esque profile picture of someone who sends you a Facebook message. It’s all the same thing: trash.


In the same vein, if a company is having a legitimate giveaway they’ll take the time to create an attractive image to share. So when you see junk like this posted twenty times in one week, with random friends tagged in it:


Ignore it, for your own good. If it looks like a kindergartner slapped it together in Microsoft Paint How to Edit & Enhance Screenshots in MS Paint How to Edit & Enhance Screenshots in MS Paint Read More it isn’t for real.

Tugs At Your Curiosity

When you’re told that somebody took a picture of you and it’s making its rounds to your friends, what’s your first instinct? To check it out for yourself, of course. Scammers prey on this trait to get you to click their garbage, often on Twitter.


Once you click that link, a number of things could happen; you could be taken to a fake sign-in page to hand over your credentials to a spammer, who would then send this junk to your followers. At best, you’ll be sent to a cheesy site where you’ll hear about a mother who made $50 million in one month working from home. Any link that starts with “You have to see…” or “CLICK HERE…” is better left alone.

Playing On Your Emotions

Tragedies happen, and when they do it’s a great thing to pitch and in and donate 6 Charities That You Can Just Text To Donate 6 Charities That You Can Just Text To Donate Back in early 2010, when Haiti was devastated by a massive earthquake, text-to-donate campaigns helped raise the amazing amount of $10 million pretty quickly. Though that campaign is no longer active (you can still mail... Read More . When you do, however, be sure that you’re actually donating to a worthy cause and not someone wanting to make a quick buck off others’ generosity.

As one example of shady usage of money, take a look at this photo posted by Britain First, a political organization.


The organization asks for likes, shares and donations to help stop animal abuse, but upon closer examination, they made no effort to separate their general donations from the ones to stop abuse. So, they show emotional pictures, ask for money to help out, and when people send money thinking they’re doing good, they’re actually donating to an institution who has no intention whatsoever of helping with the problem.

The point here isn’t about politics or this organization in particular, but rather that people blindly donate. If you want to do good with your money, be sure it’s going to a reputable source. Giving through a cause you see on Facebook simply isn’t a smart move.

Why Do People Do This?

The reason that people publish these scams is the reason for a lot of evil in this world: money. if you’re lucky, falling for any of the above issues will only lead to an annoyance and maybe spamming your friends’ pages. Some people just want to increase their “like” count or promote their stupid website.


Some take it further, though. If they’re not out for just “likes,” they’re trying to get money, and they’ll do it in any way possible. Some want you to download a rogue application, perhaps disguised as a game, to hold your system for ransom Don't Pay Up - How To Beat Ransomware! Don't Pay Up - How To Beat Ransomware! Just imagine if someone showed up on your doorstep and said, "Hey, there's mice in your house that you didn't know about. Give us $100 and we'll get rid of them." This is the Ransomware... Read More or to use your computer as a zombie Is Your PC A Zombie? And What's a Zombie Computer, Anyway? [MakeUseOf Explains] Is Your PC A Zombie? And What's a Zombie Computer, Anyway? [MakeUseOf Explains] Have you ever wondered where all of the Internet spam comes from? You probably receive hundreds of spam-filtered junk emails every day. Does that mean there are hundreds and thousands of people out there, sitting... Read More . We’ve covered what to do if you’re infected 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer 10 Steps To Take When You Discover Malware On Your Computer We would like to think that the Internet is a safe place to spend our time (cough), but we all know there are risks around every corner. Email, social media, malicious websites that have worked... Read More by malware, so if you’ve fallen for any of the above you should follow those steps to be sure your computer and financial information is safe.

Don’t feel bad if you’ve fallen for a trick; Angela almost did and has told the tale How I Nearly Got Conned Via A Western Union Transfer Scam How I Nearly Got Conned Via A Western Union Transfer Scam Here's a little story about the latest "Nigerian scam", which is all too obvious in hindsight and yet so believable when you're on the hook. Read More so that you can learn from her experience. If you’re looking for even more advice on this topic, check out some older, but still relevant, general tips to avoid scams on Facebook 5 Tips & Tricks To Avoid Facebook Phishing Scams 5 Tips & Tricks To Avoid Facebook Phishing Scams Read More .


Finally,, one of the definitive online resources for debunking rumors How To Debunk Online Rumors & Urban Myths How To Debunk Online Rumors & Urban Myths Have you ever seen a post on the Internet and your only reaction was "what? That can’t possibly be true". It’s happened to me lots of times and I’m always sent on a wild goose... Read More , has sections dedicated to Facebook rumors, computer-related hoaxes, and scams. If you see something going around and aren’t sure if it’s for real, be sure to check snopes and let your friends know so they don’t spread it.

Have you ever fallen for a social media scam? How do you spot fakes? Tell us about your experiences in the comments!

Image Credit: Internet Scam via Shutterstock

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