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Top 5 Tips on How to Recognize a Facebook Scam

Ioana Jelea

February 17, 2012

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Top 5 Tips on How to Recognize a Facebook Scam

1.      Baits

Plenty of fish in the online socialite sea: hundreds of millions, actually. With such a wide audience, it takes just a little bit of flair for scammers to pin down what will hit it big.

On the one hand, you’ve got the evergreens that’ll bank on human curiosity. That’s where the “See who viewed your profile” scam (still) reigns supreme.


On the other hand, you’ve got the hot news flavored scams that exploit scandalous or tragic events.



Third main category: platform-themed scams. Here we’ve got the occasional “Facebook will no longer be free starting [date of choice]” or the various fake account customization tools.


Our advice: check whether the app promise is real (does the platform actually allow you to compute statistics on the viewers of your profile or to change the appearance of your account?); if the app message is a hot topic, think twice before you actually access the promised content.


2.      App ID (name, photo, permissions)

Before you install an application in your account, check out its name. A legitimate app will be given a clear and, if possible, memorable name so that its users know what they’re getting into. Therefore, something like “MMN” or '…,.?' or even jolieforyou/?eacdwyxu should raise some eyebrows.

The name should match the promise of the app. If you’re planning to install an app that’ll tell you how addicted you are to Facebook, for instance,  wouldn’t you have some doubts about its legitimacy if it were named “memo76”?

Watch out for copycats such as 'frmvilles'. Don’t assume that the app authors have got bad spelling skills. This IS an attempt at tricking you. 

The visual element associated with the app should also be easily recognizable and illustrative of the app’s main functionality.

As for the app permissions, just make sure they are consistent with the app purpose. If you choose to install an app that computes statistics, it would be at least suspicious for it to request permission to Manage your pages.

To see all installed app details in your account, go to Home-> Account Settings -> Apps and click the name of the app you’re interested in.



3.      Blind Likes and Shares

Blind Likes actually subscribe your account to unknown and potentially dangerous pages. Don’t know who created the page or how trustworthy it is, then don’t Like it. Otherwise, you risk getting your NewsFeed flooded by spam and malicious links posted on the respective page.

As for Shares, be sure that you have tested the app you are endorsing before you start praising it on your Profile. It’ll definitely save you from some embarrassing situations.



4.      Install add-ons/browser extensions/updates

The browser add-on method is a recent development in the world of social scams and it seems to be quite efficient. Recent scam variants will not limit themselves to posting dozens of automatic scam messages on behalf of the tricked user, but they’ll try to gain control over their account and lock them out.

The answer to this problem? Uninstall the fake browser extension/add-on. This is the only thing that will end the highjack and allow you to access your account.

If you do not know the steps, you can read them here for Firefox and here for Chrome. Of course, accessing your Facebook account from a clean browser is another option, but just a temporary one. Unauthorized browser add-ons/extensions can be updated by their developer and create even more issues.


5.      The Quiz Maze

Most Facebook scams will lure users into clicking a link to a shocking/amazing video, while actually taking them to a survey scam.


Don’t fall for this classic scam trap. It’s a waste of time at best. At worst, it will work as a decoy to keep you from noticing that there’s some suspicious activity going on in your account.


All product and company names mentioned herein are for identification purposes only and are the property of, and may be trademarks of, their respective owners.



Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia.

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