Some type of new Facebook scam surfaces just about every day — and there’s never a shortage of fake deals and discounts out there that are just after your money!
These offers typically appear harmless — just like this photo or page to win xxx — when in reality, they can cause some serious damage.
Beware of fake offers on Facebook
You should always be on the lookout for fake offers online and especially on Facebook — as scammers try to take advantage of people who are looking for ways to save.
In fact, a fake Dollar General coupon pops up again and again with scammers claiming to offer a $60 coupon in exchange for users’ information.
When you see what looks like a great deal on Facebook (or anywhere online), if the offer seems too good to be true, you might hesitate at first. But then there’s that feeling that you could be missing out on a seriously good deal, so you check it out.
Maybe you’ve never heard of the website, but it has millions of likes on Facebook, great photos of all the products, and the page even posts links back to some website several times a day — that does not mean it is a legitimate company or legitimate offer!
Just like we see in other phishing and online scams, criminals are pretty good at making these offers and Facebook pages very official-looking — using professional photos and very enticing language.
And these scams come in all different shapes and sizes.
How to avoid fake offers and other scams circulating on Facebook
Red flags that an offer or company on Facebook is fake:
- The Facebook page has zero negative reviews or comments.
- If you can’t find a phone number or address for the company.
What to do if you’ve responded to an alert or other notification that you think could be a scam:
- Get rid of malware. Update or download legitimate security software and scan your computer. Delete anything it identifies as a problem. Here’s a list of free antivirus and malware protection options.
- Change any passwords that you gave out. If you use these passwords for other accounts, change those accounts, too.
- If you paid for bogus services with a credit card, call your credit card provider and ask to reverse the charges. Check your statements for any other charges you didn’t make, and ask to reverse those, too.
- If you believe that someone may have accessed your personal or financial information, visit the FTC’s identity theft website. You can minimize your risk of further damage and repair any problems already in place.
- File a complaint with the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
Tips to avoid similar scams
- Don’t click on any links in an email or text you weren’t expecting: Scammers often disguise malware attacks as emails that appear to be from a friend, helpful website or company you do business with. If you aren’t sure about it, delete the email and contact the friend or company directly. If you click on any link or attachment in an email you weren’t expecting, it could install malware on your device without you even realizing it until your bank account has been drained.
- Don’t click on any links in a Facebook post from a source you don’t recognize: If it’s an offer for something free but requires you to like, share, click or do anything else to redeem the free offer — don’t do it! It’s probably a scam.
- If you receive an email claiming to be from your bank or other company that has your personal information, don’t click on any of the links: Even if it looks official, it could still very easily be a scam. Instead, log in to your account separately to check for any new notices. You can also call the company about the information sent via email.
- Research unknown sites before going to them directly: When it comes to spotting potentially-dangerous websites, before you go to an unknown site, double-check the spelling of the web address/URL by first doing a search for it.
- Run anti-virus software: Frequently run anti-virus protection programs on your devices to check for any malware that could be hiding in the background.
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- Why Clark Howard wants you to set up a ‘Financial Chromebook’