When Facebook announced it has reached one billion users this year, it became clear that not only does the social network provide exceptional opportunities for people to connect and share information; it also serves as a great platform for scammers. They hide behind special offers, exclusive content or new apps in order to obtain your username and passwords or to spread viruses and other malware. Scammers simply prosper in huge crowds and…news feeds.
Sometimes it is very difficult to recognize hoax, a deliberately fabricated false message presenting itself to be the truth, especially when it’s being shared by your friends on Facebook. These are very recent examples of viral scams, maybe you have noticed them in your news feeds yesterday…
Dont Get Fooled By Technical Legal Terms
“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times! (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws, By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1–308–308 1–103 and the Rome Statute). Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.”
This message encourages users to publish a Facebook privacy notice to stop the public use of material they post on the network. It may seem credible as it’s written in technical legal terms, but the truth is that by reposting this message, users have been spreading misinformation and cluttering news feeds with irrelevant content.
Only You Have Control Over Your Privacy Settings
The same applies for the following post asking Facebook users to help their friends hide their activity from the public. It claims that even people who are not in your friend list can access your information just by Liking or Commenting. But the truth is that only the person sharing content on Facebook has control over his own privacy settings.
“Attention all my contacts: With changes in FB, everyone can now access information from persons who are not in contacts. All that is needed is for this person who is not in your list of friends to comment or click on “like” to access your information. I do not want people that I have not selected as contacts on FB to access my information but I can’t change it myself…I ask you, therefore, to point the mouse on my name above (Don’t click), wait for the pop up, point the mouse again on “friends” (Don’t click). Then click on “settings” and remove the check mark in “Comments and Like”. Thus, my activity will no longer be in the public domain. Thank you!”
Top 9 Most Common Facebook Scams:
1. Find Out Who Has Been Looking at your Profile: this scam claims that it will show you who has been viewing your profile and who has blocked you from theirs, but none of these apps work because Facebook doesn’t provide such information to developers.
2. Free Items and Gift Cards: don’t expect to get anything for free just by completing a survey.
3. New Facebook Features: some apps promise to change your Facebook color or to provide you with a dislike button, but make sure you install them only from trusted and well-known developers.
4. Free iPads & iPhones: messages stating that you can win a free iPad or iPhone are usually just a thought-out marketing trick.
5. Free Facebook Credits: basically you shouldn’t trust anything that offers something for free. When it sounds too good to be true, you can be pretty sure it’s a scam, just like free credits for Facebook games like Farmville, Cityville etc.
6. Breaking News: scammers know that most users will click on a link promising exclusive coverage, so stay alert and if you are not sure, check with online media websites for the story first.
7. Help, I Need Your Help And Money: if you get a message from a friend saying he has been robbed somewhere abroad and he is left with no phone, passport or money and then asks you for help, beware – his Facebook account has probably been hijacked by scammers. You can verify this also by asking your mutual friends if they received an identical message.
8.Shocking Headlines and Fake Celebrity Stories: scammers also often use sensational news or false stories with a headline including words like “shocking” because Facebook users tend to share them without verifying the news.
9. False Privacy Settings: scammers mainly want to get your login details, so make sure to verify messages claiming to be from Facebook security. Even the examples above show that they can look very credible and trustworthy.
So the lesson to learn? Take control over your privacy settings and manage the privacy of your posts; always verify the information you receive and don’t spread messages just because they have been shared by your friends. You can also check for scams on specialized websites like FaceCrooks.com. As you may have noticed yesterday, anyone can swallow the bait – even George Takei. This is what he posted:
“From a friend, who reminds me that I need to check better before some of my own posts…“