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Each day I see more and more people on falling for these Facebook Scams – here’s what to look out for and keep yourself and your money safe.
I’ve made no secret of the fact the I bloody love Facebook. It’s the platform where I spend the majority of my social media time and I probably spend way more time on than I should. However, recently I’ve been seeing more and more of my friends and family sharing and falling various Facebook Scams. Scammers really are everywhere and will do whatever they can to get there hand on your personal details such as email addresses and passwords.
In this post I am going to talk about the three most prevalent Facebook Scams I see day to day, the best ways to avoid being duped and what you can do to keep yourself and your money safe while online.
1.Fake Facebook Competitions
I love entering competitions and will always enter any if they pop up on my news-feed. But I’m seeing more and more of my friends and family sharing fake competitions which no one will ever win. These competitions are actually what’s known as Like Farming and are most commonly to win things like cars, caravans, cash and holidays.
A page will be set up with a fake competition which encourages people to ‘Like, share and comment’. Their friends see this and do the same and within a few days the page can easily have built up thousands upon thousands of likes.
These types of pages will often ask you to ‘Sign Up’ with your email address to be entered – again this is part of the scam – you email address will likely be sold on and you will be bombarded with spam.
The Facebook page will then be sold on to a company or business who will re-brand it with their own details and be able to get their product in front of thousands of potential customers with very little effort.
Have you ever seen a company pop up on your news-feed and thought ‘I don’t remember liking that page?’ this could well be an example of like farming.
How to Spot a Fake Facebook Competition
There are a few simple ways you can tell if a competition is fake:
- Often the Prize is ridiculous and expensive. ‘Win an RV – we have 18 to Giveaway!’ ‘Win a two week break at Center Parcs!’ (Center Parcs don’t even have an option for staying two weeks) ‘Win one of brand new 5 BMWs!’ if the prize sounds to good to be true then it probably is.
- Take a close look at the pictures being used – I’ve seen Fake Competitions for a Center Parcs breaks where none of the pictures are actually from a Center Parcs resort.
- Look out for the Blue Tick – Often these fake pages are masquerading as a big company such as Virgin or Tui. Most well known big businesses will have a Blue Tick next the their name to show they are the real deal. A fake page will not have this.
- Scroll through the page – often they will only have two or three other posts and these are usually of pictures of what the competition is for, most commonly holidays.
- Read some of the comments – if you can bear to the hundred and one sob stories from people who haven’t had a holiday in ten years – there are usually a few people commenting that it’s fake and they are usually right.
- All real competitions will have a clear end date – and should also have a link to terms and conditions.
- Asking users to share as competition entry is actually against Facebook policy – as shares can’t be tracked if people have strict privacy settings. A lot of companies (even legitimate ones) ignore this. You can choose to share if you would like to but it can’t be a requirement of entry.
2.Funny Name Meme
Who doesn’t love a funny Facebook Meme? What are becoming especially common are those that ask to create a funny name for yourself such as:
‘What is your elf name?’ and ‘How to find your unicorn name!’
They usually ask for the first letter of your first name and the month of your birth. These aren’t too bad as they aren’t getting too specific. However there are a few of these types of Meme’s that are actually Facebook Scams out to steal your personal details – here’s how.
It asks for the month you were born, which isn’t too uncommon. It then asks for some pretty specific dates regarding your birthday. Date of birth is always asked online when signing up to anything, including banking and this Meme narrows it down to just 3 or 4 potential days. A quick scroll through your profile pictures might then giveaway the year, especially if you’ve recently had a big birthday.Another Facebook Scam from recent years was one that asked people for their ‘Porn Star Name’ which included using their mothers maiden name and the name of their first pet. These are very often security questions used online so revealing them on Facebook is never a good idea.
3.Fake Rental Properties
This has been a huge a problem in my hometown in recent months with several people getting scammed out of several hundred pounds.
Rental properties are currently pretty scarce where I live. We are the nearest town to the Hinkley Point C Power Station development and therefore have had a huge influx of people coming into the town for work. Many people have started looking to Facebook when searching for a property to rent – hoping either to find something that hasn’t been previously advertised elsewhere or to avoid steep letting agent fees.
However, in recent months many people have been scammed with fake property rentals. Someone will reply to their request on a local buying and selling group saying they have a property to rent and to message them privately for further details. If the person likes the look of the property they will be asked for holding deposit to show they are genuinely interested and for the property to be taken off of the market so to speak.
This is common practice.
However, in the Facebook Scams version, once the money has been transferred the person they were planning on renting from disappears and their Facebook profile is deleted. You are now £200 worse off and now need to continue your property search. As the conversation took place in private it’s unlikely anyone from the local area would have come forward to attest that the property wasn’t actually up for rent and there are currently people happily in situ. This happens particually when people are moving to a new area which they have no knowledge of.
Ways to avoid this Facebook Scam
- While using an agent may seem like a waste of money they are there to stop this sort of thing happening, paying their fees could well save you money in the long term.
- Have a good look through the persons profile. Do they have many friends? Are they from the local area? One lady that was pulling this scam where I live had her hometown listed as New York and currently living in Chicago. Not impossible, but fairly unlikely they would be renting out property in a small Somerset town. Also her profile picture appeared to be several different women when looking through.
- Paying by direct bank transfer does leave you with much less protection than using Paypal or a Credit Card – always use these method if you can.
- Don’t be afraid to ask others what they think – if you’re not familiar with the local area ask in local group if they’ve heard of the person you plan to rent from and find out if the property is legitimately up for rent.