Scam artists are always looking for new ways to use the latest technology in hardware and software in order to trick unsuspecting users into providing them with their personal identity or money or both. One venue that appears to be most attractive is social networking, especially Facebook.
Share and Win
Have you ever seen a post that says “Bill Gates will send you $50 if you share this post”? This is nonsense! Microsoft and all the other big companies that are being exploited will never place such an offer on Facebook or an other social medium.
Please ‘Friend’ Me
Other fraudulent claims are a little more sophisticated. One user, we will call Tom gave a very detailed account of how he was almost fooled into giving away private information. A Facebook notification advised him that someone wanted to ‘friend’ him. Tom does not usually accept friend notifications unless he knows the person, but when he say her profile, he became interested. One reason was because he thought the woman was ‘cute’ and the other was because she said she worked for Facebook – A good connection if you need to contact someone there, so he accepted.
The next day, he got a private message from the woman who said ‘Hi”, so he responded ‘Hello’ and she (if it really was a ‘she’) replied that he just won the Facebook lotto. Needless to say, he immediately told her he now knows this is a scam and told her he will report her to Facebook. No doubt this woman’s profile was immediately deleted.
But it doesn’t stop there. Scam artists will come up with anything that will help them achieve their criminal goals.
The Free Airline Ticket Scam
While some airlines might be genuinely be away free tickets for liking their Facebook page or sharing a piece of information on the internet, the majority of people who post such things are ‘fraudsters’. The scammers will ask gullible users to click on links that look like Facebook ‘share’ buttons. People who follow the links are led to pages that prompt the user to provide a considerable amount of personal information. Now the user has not only become the victim of potentially giving away private information, but has also went to a website that most probably will download malware on their computer.
The Bottom Line of Staying Safe from Online Fraud
Thieves and fraudsters are always looking for ways to set traps for unwary users. If you see ‘Free’ on social media, that should be your first red flag. If you see a post that says a big celebrity or corporation is giving away something, stay away and if you get a friend request, do not accept the invitation unless you are absolutely sure that this person is either someone you know or someone that you have confirmed is a legitimate social media user.