Popular Facebook scams are sometimes tough to spot

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Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 12:00 am

No, you aren’t going to get free stuff, unless you count computer viruses and malware.

Scams on Facebook can spread “wall to wall” between users through such schemes as click-jacking and like-jacking attacks, rogue applications and fake events. Scammers will exploit any method they can, and are sometimes quite creative.

A common end game is a survey scam, but other scams are more malicious. For example, many Facebook users have received trojans, other viruses and malware infestations.

Following are some of the most active Facebook scams.

Profile viewers and profile blockers: These scams promise to show you who has been looking at your profile or who has blocked you from their profile. None of these apps works. Facebook doesn’t give developers access to the data needed to create them.

Free iPads and iPhones: Don’t be fooled by messages that indicate you can test and keep an iPad, iPhone or other electronic device. The messages are marketing gimmicks.

Free Facebook credits: This scam targets gamers on Facebook. Credits are used to purchase items in Farmville, City-ville and similar games. Credits cost real money and you are not going to receive a large number of them for free.

Free items, gift cards and tickets: If it sounds too good to be true, you can be sure it is. You aren’t going to receive free airline tickets, Subway or Starbucks gift cards, or a Facebook hoodie just by completing a survey.

Invitations to turn your Facebook profile pink, red, black or any other color: This is not a cool new feature, it’s a scam that works like this: Auser receives a message inviting him or herto “Switch to pink Facebookand say goodbye to the boring blue profile.”Whena userclicks on the link to change the color ofthe page, the scam spams allthe user’s friends.

Phishing attempts to steal your login information: If scammers can get your login credentials, they can wreak havoc before you reclaim your account. Messages that appear to come from Facebook Security are a popular way to trick users into providing their login information.

Bogus chat messages: A compromised Facebook account uses rogue applications to send scam links to users via Facebook Chat. Be wary of messages that say something like: “hey is this you,” “look at you in this video,” “wanna laugh.” Don’t click any links received in chat until you verify they are legitimate.

Shocking headlines: Anything that begins with “OMG” or “Shocking” is best left alone on Facebook. Links from the headlines usually end in a survey scam and a video that doesn’t play.

Fake celebrity stories: Facebook is not the place to get your celebrity news and gossip. Scammers use fake deaths and other sensational stories to entice users. These often spread quickly, because users share the posts before verifying the story.

“Help, I’m stranded and need money”: If you receive a message from a friend who says he or she is stranded in London or some other exotic locale, don’t rush to Western Union to send cash. It’s likely that the Facebook account had been hijacked by scammers.

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