Social networking sites are part of our everyday reality, with Facebook still being the main social network platform for getting information, interacting with people and sharing bits and pieces from our life. The communication, especially via social networks is becoming more and more instant and our attention span is shorter than ever. This paves the road for all those who are attempting to send you annoying and dangerous scam links and viruses.
If you use Facebook like most of us, you must have seen a few Facebook scam links in wall posts or private messages. They usually look something like this:
- See this amazing video…
- I’m traveling and I’ve lost my phone. HELP!
- My total Facebook profile views: 2,112. Find out your total views:
- LOL (with a download file)
- OMG! Check this video showing dad who catches daughter… etc.
Apart from the above mentioned scams, you may also get invites to play a Facebook game via an app that requires access to your basic information. As this is the usual procedure, if you don’t pay close enough attention, you could click Allow to an app that is actually a scam. If so, by allowing access to all of your friends or pages, you could get yourself into a pretty unpleasant or embarrassing situation.
How can you detect these scams and avoid them? There are several smart steps you should take:
Test the validity of the app by checking it via the Facebook search bar. If it doesn’t show up, it is probably a fake. You could also browse the internet for it where you might be able to discover if it’s a fake app or not, depending on the feedback by people who’ve already had a problem with it.
Check whether the app has a rating (with stars, marking the quality of the app). Fake apps usually don’t have ratings, so this could be a sure sign that something is wrong before you go too far.
Be suspicious about BOMBASTIC headlines! Big promises about things that’ve never been seen, things that are shocking, amazing, spectacular etc. should always be treated as potential threats. Use caution before blindly clicking on links that sound too good to be true.
Be careful with private messages. Check with your friend whether he/she had sent you anything before opening a random video, file or a link that seems to be a bit awkward or out of place.
However, even if you are an extremely cunning person who is good at immediately spotting scams and knows how to follow all these steps, it may still occur that you accidentally click on dangerous links. Sometimes, we don’t always pay attention and even for a second, we just click on a random link. It can happen to anyone.
What you can do then is:
- Remove any unwanted posts that end up on your wall, your friend’s wall or your Page’s wall.
- Go to your Account/Privacy Settings, then to Apps and Websites/Edit your Settings –then click on Remove unwanted or spammy apps
- Post a status notifying your friends that you’ve had problems with your account
So, bottom line is that if you are careful enough with the content published and if you know how to act after realizing you’ve been a victim of a scam, you can minimize the threats and consequences of following dangerous links on social networking sites.
Social networks are a part of our lives, let’s enjoy them, and let’s use them to the fullest potential in order to benefit from them. At the same time, let’s be aware of the dangers that DO exist and be smart when it comes to protecting our privacy.
Do you think you can easily spot dangerous links?
Have you ever been a victim of a Facebook scam?