Facebook is one of the most popular social media sites in the world. It's estimated that there are nearly 2 billion active monthly users worldwide. That's right, billion!
With so many people using the site, it's a perfect place for scammers to find victims. That's why we're constantly warning you about the latest threats making the rounds. Although, sometimes a report of a scam is actually a hoax itself.
What's the latest rumored Facebook scam?
One of Komando.com's loyal readers told us about a Facebook scam that she heard was going around, so we looked into it.
Facebook posts are going around claiming that there are users out there that are being paid to spy on you. Here is an example:
"Do you know that if you go to your block list and type in "facebook security" and hit block, it gives you a list of the people who are paid to watch YOUR posts? It's messed up. And you can't block them either. I found 6 on mine, other people have found 20 or more and you can't block any of them."
In reality, this is not true. It's just a hoax that tricksters are passing around to waste people's time. It does have the potential of turning into a like-farming scam, though.
Like-farming is just what it sounds like. Scammers post a story on Facebook for the purpose of cultivating likes and shares. Based on the way Facebook works, the more likes and shares a post has, the more likely it is to show up in people's News Feeds.
This gives the scammer more eyeballs for posts that trick people out of information or send them to malicious downloads. The story they originally post has nothing dangerous about it. Only after the post gets a certain number of likes and shares does the scammer edit it and add something malicious.
How to avoid like-farming scams
There are many scams on Facebook and most of them can be used for like-farming. A popular one, for example, is a post that asks you to like or share so you can win something. I've seen several recently from local butchers offering free packages of meat to one lucky person who likes and shares its post.
You will also frequently see posts that are allegedly from someone who recently won a large sum of money from a lottery. If you like and share the post, you could get a share of the winnings.
It isn't just posts either; it can also be pages. A scammer might set up a page for "I love puppies" or what appears to be a worthy company or organization.
Just enough content is posted to get a ton of likes, then the scammer switches the content for spam and or malicious links that could infect your gadget. Once you've liked the page, everything new the cybercriminal puts up goes on your News Feed, and in some cases, your friends' feeds as well.
Follow these tips and they will help you avoid Facebook like-farming scams:
- Your best bet is to be very judicious about what you like and share on Facebook. Don't just reflexively click "like" on everything.
- Take a look at where the post is coming from. If it's from someone you don't recognize, it could be a friend of a friend or it could be a complete stranger. It would be good to find out.
- Notice the content and whether it promises anything for liking or sharing. If it does, it's a good clue that it's a scam of some kind. The same goes if you feel pushed or pressured into clicking like or share.
Don't forget that, in the end, not liking things isn't just a good security measure. It also reduces the clutter in your friends' news feeds, and their clutter in yours, so you can all spend more time seeing the really important posts. That's a win-win for everyone.