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10 Common Facebook Scams
What they are, how they work, and ways to avoid becoming a victim
Though many social media users have moved to Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, Facebook remains a prime target for scammers. Read on to find out how they work so you can sidestep their tricks.
1. Romance scams
The scammer initiates an online relationship, building trust with you. They may correspond with you for weeks, revealing what appears to be very personal information. Eventually, they request money for a flight, a visa, or another important reason. Never send money to someone you haven’t met, even if you feel close to them online.
2. Lottery scams
An organization will contact you, claiming you’re the lottery winner and that you can claim your money for a small fee. Before responding, think carefully about whether you’ve entered any contests lately. Remember that real contests don’t require payment to claim your winnings.
3. Loan scams
Here, the criminals send messages or create posts offering immediate loans at a low-interest rate for a small fee. They may draw you in by mentioning things you could use the loan for, such as to pay off student loans or buy a car. But don’t buy it. Legitimate loan sources don’t require a fee.
4. Coupon code scams
The trickster will post an offer to a coupon code but will require your personal information before granting access to it. Consider whether saving a few bucks is worth giving away your valuable data. Companies that want your business will list the code for you.
5. Job scams
Scammers post fake job postings online to get your personal information or money. It can be tempting if you’re conducting a job search to follow every possible lead, but no legitimate employer should be asking for those things.
6. Fake medical fundraisers
Scammers will send messages or create posts, posing as someone in medical distress and requesting funds to help with doctor bills. This method can work exceptionally well if the profile is a clone of the profile of someone you personally know. Tugging at your heartstrings is a
way of drawing you in.
7. Shopping scams
In this case, scammers will create a fake shopping account and publish offers at unusually low prices, requesting your money and sending nothing in return. So be your homework on any company before conducting business with them on Facebook or anywhere else.
8. Giveaway scams
You’ll see an offer on Facebook that talks about giving away a valuable item like an iPad and includes a link that supposedly leads to a form you must fill out to enter. But that link instead leads to malware. So always think twice before clicking a link from unknown sources.
9. Facebook quiz scams
Here you’ll click a link to participate in a fun quiz, only to be asked for access to your profile or personal information. Discovering your ‘80s pop star spirit animal may sound like fun, but it’s best to avoid these quizzes altogether because they can come from anywhere.
10. Phishing scams
Some scammers will pose as Facebook itself, sending you a message that your account is being disabled and including a link to “help” that leads to malware. Look at the source of this and all messages to verify their origins.
It may be hard to remember all these possible tricks, so to stay safe, keep in mind these general rules:
- Be wary of anyone on Facebook asking you to perform any action, even if the request appears to be from someone you know.
- Fiercely protect your personal information.
- If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
QUICK TIP: Facebook offers a security checkup to help you keep your account secure! Here is a link to a Facebook article to learn more.
How to Recover a Hacked Facebook Account You Can Access
You know you’ve been hacked but can still access your account. Here are the steps to take next.
- Change your password. Log into your account and go to Account > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Security and login. In the Login section, next to Change password, click Edit and follow the instructions.
- Check logins. To learn which devices you’re logged in on, go to Account > Settings & Privacy> Settings > Security and login. Under Where you’re logged in, look for any logins you don’t recognize. To the right of the description, click the three stacked dots, select Not you?, and follow the prompts.
- Alert Facebook. Let Facebook know you’ve been hacked. Go to Account > Help & support > Help Center > Policies and Reporting > Hacked and Fake Accounts. Under Hacked Accounts, click Recover Your Account and follow the prompts.
- Report the crime. The FBI recommends filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov.
How to Recover a Hacked Facebook Account You Can’t Access
If you’re in the unfortunate situation of being locked out of your account, take the following steps.
- Go to facebook.com/hacked. You will be prompted for the phone number you used to open the account, and Facebook will help you regain access.
Use the following strategies to prevent future attacks.
- Use a secure password. It should be unique and have at least 15 characters, including lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Set up two-factor authentication. To do it, go to Account > Settings & Privacy> Settings > Security and login. Under Two-factor authentication, next to Use two-factor authentication, click Edit and follow the instructions from there.
- Disable connected apps. Go to Account > Settings & Privacy > Settings > Security and login > Apps and Websites. Click Remove next to each listed app.
- Get suspicious login alerts. To activate this feature, go to Account > Settings & Privacy> Settings > Security and login. Under Setting up extra security, click Edit and change your settings to get notifications.
- Limit what you share. Don’t share optional information, such as the town you were born in, your birthdate, or your parents’ names.