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. If you are tired, trusting or not paying close attention when you see the scam, there is a good chance you could fall for it too.
Verify Your Facebook Account So We Can Steal It, Thanks
There’s a new scam doing the rounds this week in the form of a message from “Mark Zukcemberng”, claiming that your page was in violation of the terms of service. It then links to a Facebook app where you can “verify your account”, obviously giving the scammers enough information to steal your Facebook account and your page.
Since it is really easy to get your Facebook page banned for stupid things like asking your fans to share a competition post in order to enter, this scam is easily believed by page admins. The trick lies in noticing that it’s not Zuckerberg’s account sending you this message (why would he, anyway?) and that the link is for a Facebook app, not an official Facebook page.
The link bit could fool people easily, but hopefully most people would catch on to the fake sender. It’s also important to note that similar scams have been circulating for years — this is just the latest.
How to steal a Facebook page, with help from Mark Zukcemberng http://t.co/j0HgJGTqCD
— Graham Cluley (@gcluley) March 24, 2014
If you fell for this serious phishing scam in a moment of panic, here’s how to find out whether your account has been hacked, how to log out of Facebook from another device, and what to do when your account has been hacked.
Fake Facebook Profiles And Competitions
A few months ago, there were two big businesses whose names were at the heart of some serious scamming: Walt Disney World and Southwest Airlines. The scams were quite similar and revolved around one major ploy — an entirely fake Facebook page which looked really convincing. They ran adverts about competitions and suckered people into filling out a survey.
The Walt Disney World scam read something like this:
“Great news, we’re giving you the chance to win a Disney cruise for you and 5 friends to 50 people with up to $2000 spending money for a date of your choice.”
The people who followed the link were asked to complete surveys in order to claim the prize, yet no matter how many surveys they completed they were not offered the chance to enter.
The Southwest Airlines scam read something like this:
“We’re giving away 90 tickets to Las Vegas, 6 tickets per winner for you and your friends. (Up to 12 winners). Holiday and hotels are all paid for with $1,000 spending money.”
To claim the tickets, you were asked to click on a link and fill out a survey. The people behind it all are meanwhile making money from being an affiliate for the survey-maker. No doubt the information gathered was also sent on to more scammers and marketers who would make good use of this information.
What’s scary about it all is that it looks so genuine. The pages have been carefully constructed to look much like the original, and have similar content. Once the scam spreads, it generates plenty of likes and comments for the page and their posts.
Of course, Facebook will shut these fake pages down when they see them, but they are really just playing whack-a-mole. Another scam will spring up with another company’s details used as the fake front.
How do you spot a real page? There is a verified tick next to the real Facebook page’s name.
If you hover over the tick, you’ll see that it says “Verified Page”. Obviously, these verified pages are not available for every single company in the world, so the scammers will no doubt soon start targeting Facebook pages that aren’t verified. All a skeptical reader can then do is to understand the things companies do to prove their identity on Facebook, then use that to make an educated guess about the page’s authenticity.
Did you or your Facebook friends fall for any scam lately? Share them in the comments so others know to avoid them!