Facebook has attracted millions of users worldwide because of its many features, applications and games. But because of its popularity, this social networking site has also attracted a lot of hackers, phishers and scammers. Many users have reported and complained about various scams—from identity theft to malware peddlers—and the number of victims rises by the hundreds every month. Don’t be fooled by these Internet scams; be prepared by learning how to spot these different types of Internet fraud. Below are the top five Facebook scams you should watch out for.
1. The 419 Scam. Also known as the Nigerian scam, this scam has been emptying innocent people’s wallets for years. What was once done through email has now hit the social networking sites, like Facebook. Scammers steal or hack into an account and use this account to send messages to contacts. The details vary, but the theme of the messages is the same. Scammers chat with the contacts of the stolen account, saying that they desperately need money because they were robbed while traveling abroad. They even give bank account details, requesting that the money to be deposited there. Don’t be fooled by this type of Internet fraud. Always verify with friends before sending money—contact them via email, phone or ask around if they’ve indeed been traveling.
2. Phishing scams. Creating a fake log-in page is one clever method used by hackers to control your Facebook account. Phishing is when someone copies a legal site and uses it to retrieve passwords and account details. Sometimes, hackers even take over your friends’ accounts to post links of funny videos or interesting clips. When you click on this link, you are redirected to a fake log-in page (such as www.facebook.fakeurl.com). Always check that you are on the correct facebook url "http://www.facebook.com" before typing in your user name and password.
3. The Facebook Quiz Scam. Quizzes are fun but some can actually drain your savings. This Internet fraud starts with a simple Facebook quiz; it can be about anything—from movie quizzes and I.Q. quizzes, to trivia. Once you answer all the questions, you will be asked for a mobile number so that the results can be sent to your phone. Don’t be fooled, though. You will never get those results. Once you input your number, you can be charged amounts ranging from $4 to as much as $10 a day! Never give out your mobile number or other details to sites you don’t know or are unsure of.
4. Malware applications. One thing that makes Facebook so popular is its many fun applications. But since it’s easy to create these apps, a lot of hackers trick innocent people in using them so they can steal information and personal data. These Internet scams mimic familiar applications like Your Photo or Wall. Some even send emails pretending to be “The Facebook Team” and instruct you to open attachments that contain malware. To prevent malware from affecting your computer or account, always keep your security software updated and be wary of attachments from email addresses you don’t know.
5. The Koobface Worm. Its name might be funny, but you won’t be laughing if this Worm affects your account. This scam starts out as an innocent-looking message from one of your Facebook friends, such as “Super funny video of our party last week!” or “This is a must-see! LOL.” Clicking on the link will redirect you to a page that looks like a Youtube video. A small window will appear asking you to upgrade your Flash player and to click on the button to download a file. This file contains the Koobface worm, which will prompt your computer to log in your Facebook account and message all your other friends. Don’t fall prey to this type of Internet fraud. Never click on links posted on your wall or inbox that seems strange.
You probably spend at least an hour everyday on Facebook to catch up with your friends, play games and upload photos and videos. Don’t be a victim of Internet scams, always be wary of strange messages, emails and links. Spread safety and security tips to your friends, not viruses.
This Article is written by John C Arkin.
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