As the platform continues to grow and its user base expands, scammers, con artists, and criminals regularly target Facebook with a variety of bogus ads and fake products. While Facebook tries to fight back, you’ll need to make sure you understand the risks when you use the site or any of its services.
Maintaining a secure online presence is almost impossible, but you can protect yourself better if you can spot a scam early.
The Facebook support pages are rife with reports from victims of fake products and event ticketing fraud. The platform’s algorithm is good at detecting fake accounts, but scammers get around this by duplicating or hacking valid profiles. Criminals use these profiles to list products, tickets, services, and other fake goods on the market place or community pages.
Before you buy anything from someone on Facebook, you should always check the seller’s profile. If the offer seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. You should also check reviews on the seller’s page. If the account opened recently and has no reviews, the higher the risk of it being an attempt to defraud you.
Facebook tracks everything you do on the platform. The company uses this information to target you directly with ad campaigns. Although Facebook’s advertising serves many businesses well, fake campaigns continue to rise in popularity. Some ads will use fake endorsements from celebrities, while others simply want to steal your financial information.
In the final quarter of 2018, Facebook estimated 116 million fake accounts existed on the site. Anyone of these could run ad campaigns that direct you to a bargain website. Once you attempt to make a purchase, the scammers have all of your credit card information.
To keep your financial information safe, only provide it to reputable sites. One method you can use to verify you’re visiting the right brand’s website is to type it into Google instead of following the link from Facebook. Criminals are very good at mimicking valid websites, so always verify the site’s URL before making any purchases.
When criminals don’t have access to valid accounts, cloning your information and impersonating you on the site is the next best option. The scammers will send friend requests to your contacts and pretend that you lost access to your previous account. Once your contact adds the fake profile as a friend, the hacker will use a Good Samaritan scam to request money for an accident or hospital bill from your friends.
To prevent hackers from impersonating you, always keep your profile settings private. If you receive a second friend request from someone you already have as a contact, notify the affected user immediately on the old account. Another general rule is to never accept a second friend request without verifying with the person that it’s a valid account.
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