Scam Alert: How criminals are using Facebook Scams in 2023

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Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform. Each month, more than 2.8 billion users log in to catch up with friends, share information, get their news, and even shop.

The site’s popularity makes it ripe for cybercriminals. With so many active users, fraudsters have a vast pool of potential victims to target. Even if only a fraction of fraud attempts work, that’s a pretty big payday for any scammer.

Government grant scams have been around for years. Scammers still target people with newspaper and online ads, email, texts, and phone calls pretending to be with a government agency. But recently, they’re also using social media.

 

Most Common Facebook Scams Today

Cybercriminals are an innovative bunch. They are always coming up with new ways to steal from unsuspecting social media users. Fraudsters most often try to get their hands on your account login credentials, personally identifying information, or bank and credit card information.

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Top Facebook Scams of 2023 and How to Avoid Them

How to Avoid Scams on Facebook

There are many things you can do to maintain your safety and avoid becoming a victim.

Things you can do within Facebook

From within Facebook, follow these best practices to avoid fraudsters.

1. Lock down your Facebook privacy settings.

To avoid attracting unwanted attention from cybercriminals, be sure your account is as private as possible. While you can never hide your profile pictures or cover photos, you can hide almost everything else from those outside your friends list.

2. Enable two-factor authentication

One of the easiest ways to prevent unwanted logins on your Facebook account is to enable two-factor authentication. With this in place, anytime someone tries logging in from an unrecognized location or device, they will also have to enter a one-time code in addition to your username and password. This code is sent to your phone via text message or through an authenticator app.

3. Decline a friend request from anyone you don’t know

This is an easy one. Get in the habit of declining friend requests from anyone you are not familiar with. Unless you are trying to become a Facebook influencer, amassing connections with people you don’t know is unnecessary and unsafe.

The more friends you have that you don’t know, the higher the risk you’ll be approached with some sort of Facebook scam.

4. Ignore messages asking for personal information or money

If you receive a private message from someone you know and they’re pleading for help (usually in the form of money), double-check with this friend off Facebook to verify the legitimacy of their request. Logically, if a real friend is in dire straights, they won’t rely on Facebook Messenger to get help.

5. Don’t click on suspicious links sent to you

Whether it is a phishing email or a private message from a friend, avoid the temptation to click on unsolicited videos or links. If you think a friend sent you something, double-check with them (outside of Facebook) before clicking on anything. Especially when what they sent you involves embarrassing or compromising information about you.

Think about it. Most real friends would probably not send a generic “OMG! Is this you?!” message if they really saw something bad about you.

6. Check your login history regularly

Be sure to keep an eye on all the places and devices that are logged in to your Facebook account. This helps you get rid of unwanted access quickly.

7. Use a strong password

Resist the urge to reuse passwords across multiple online accounts. Also, make sure the unique password you use is hard to decipher. The days of using your oldest child’s birthday or mother’s maiden name are long gone. Today’s sophisticated cybercriminals can crack most simple passwords with ease.

8. Only shop from verified brand accounts

If you are one of the millions of people who shop on Facebook, keep yourself safe by only dealing with verified Facebook pages. This extra step is taken by all reputable brands to reassure potential buyers of the integrity of any transaction.

It is easy to see which brands are verified. They will have a blue circle with a checkmark next to their brand name.

9. Search regularly for accounts in your name

To avoid the damage of someone cloning your Facebook account and using these fake accounts in malicious ways, get in the habit of regularly searching Facebook for your name. This only takes a minute and is an easy way to identify and eliminate doppelganger accounts.

If you do find an imposter account, you can report it to Facebook by using the Report Profile feature. Just click on the three dots on a person’s profile and select Find Support or Report Profile.

Things you can do outside Facebook

There are several things you can do to ensure your safety on Facebook and online in general.

1. Keep your device’s operating system updated

Developers regularly issue patches to deal with security issues as they become known. If you are not in the habit of regularly updating your operating system, your device is unnecessarily vulnerable.

Update your devices anytime a new release is issued. You can turn on auto-updates to automate the process.

2. Report all suspicious emails

If you think an email you received from Facebook is a scam, go ahead and forward it to Facebook. They will take it from there.

The official email to send it to is phish@facebook.com.

Staying Safe from Facebook Scams

Facebook is a great way to keep up with friends and family. It’s also a convenient place to follow your favorite celebrities, brands, and news outlets. But the social media channel doesn’t come without risks, including numerous Facebook scams.

To stay safe while you scroll, like, share, and comment, you must remain vigilant. Know the most popular types of scams on Facebook. Cast a wary eye on private messages you receive. Don’t accept friend requests or messages from strangers. Never send money to people you don’t trust. Maintain safe online habits, and run antivirus software on all your devices.

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