5 Facebook scams & hoaxes

All it takes is for one person to fall for a hoax on Facebook and it spreads like wildfire.

Facebook scams usually start with the idea that Facebook is either going to start charging you or that Facebook’s privacy options are changing. These scams or hoaxes usually include suggesting that you don’t share (the hoax) and instead copy and paste it into your status so that you can ‘protect’ yourself from either having to pay a fee or lose the rights to your content that you have saved on Facebook.

Exactly why people start spreading these scams isn’t clear, but there is one thing we can guarantee: they are all absolutely rubbish and you can safely ignore them.

neonbrand_rubbish
Photo by NeONBRAND

Certainly do not share them, which does nothing other than keeping the rumour alive and allowing people to falsely believe they are protected.

Facebook owns your information

In November 2012 when these hoax posts began going viral, Facebook released a statement that read: “There is a rumour circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been. Click here to learn more: facebook.com/policies.”

Facebook’s terms and conditions are explained to you when you signed up for Facebook. Facebook can’t change the terms without telling you. Therefore posting a status update won’t protect you from terms that you’ve already agreed to. Basically, if you don’t like Facebook’s terms (the actual terms, not the hoax ones) then deactivate your account and stop using Facebook.

Don’t accept a friend request from this known hacker

A few messages shared via Facebook Messenger warned users to not accept friend requests from [known hacker] or their account will be compromised and so will that of all their friends. It’s nonsense, but it is a good reminder for people that they shouldn’t accept friend requests from people they don’t know.

Facebook Messenger scam

A new type of scam doing the rounds works slightly differently to previous scams, spreading via direct messages from hijacked accounts rather than the News Feed.

If your account is hijacked, the scammer will send a message to everyone on your Friends list with a link to what appears to be a YouTube video of them. If your Friends click on the link they are then taken to a site that looks like but is not YouTube and instructed to download a browser add-on in order to watch a video.

MessangerScam

This browser add-on is in fact malware and can steal sensitive information such as account details, passwords, and even banking information. It will also spread further to all the friends on their list.

Don’t click the link!

If you see this message on Facebook Messenger, don’t click on the link without confirmation from your friend that they intended to send it to you. If it wasn’t them, inform them that their account has been compromised (hacked) and that they must change their password in Settings, General, Password.

Consider what you post to stay safe

Not everyone who views your profile is your Friend, and not all can be trusted with your most intimate personal details.

Facebook check-in at airports

You might make us jealous telling Facebook that you are jetting off to soak up the sun for a week, but we won’t be jealous when you return to find your home ransacked and your irreplaceable personal belongings gone.

Protect Facebook from hackers

Consider that with the correct knowledge hackers could directly access your account and make posts on your behalf, read your private messages and even lock you out of your account. Facebook has a whole section of its Settings menu devoted to this – you’ll find it in Settings, Security, or on the Facebook Security Page.

 

FB security page
Image by Facebook Security

 

If you ever have any reason to suspect someone has access to your account, change your password. You can do this in Settings, General. Be sure to use a strong password that won’t be easily guessed.

Happy and safe Facebooking!

 

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