Social media sites are a great way to connect with people. I recently found an old high school friend on Facebook that I hadn't spoken with in years. I'm so happy that we were able to rekindle a friendship that seemed to have been lost forever.
It's situations like this that help make social media sites so popular. Unfortunately, these sites have become prime targets for cybercriminals because they have so many users. Yes, there's another new scam making the rounds that you need to know about.
How the latest Facebook scam works
We've been warning you lately about the many like-farming scams that are popping up all over Facebook. Well, there is a new one happening now that you will probably see in your News Feed soon if you haven't already.
Like-farming is exactly 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 gets, the more likely it is to show up in people's News Feeds.
This gives the scammer more viewers for posts that trick people out of information or send them to malicious downloads. The story they originally post normally 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.
The latest hoax deals with typing something really innocent, "Amen."
There are plenty of Facebook posts that will tug on your heartstrings. Some of them ask you to type Amen, then like and share with your friends.
The subject of the post could be almost anything. You might see a picture of someone who is ill and are asked to help them get better by sending them well wishes.
Sometimes the scammer promises you something positive in return for typing Amen, liking and sharing a post. Here is an example of one I found on my News Feed that claimed I would receive a miracle by doing this in the next hour.
Image: Example of "Amen" like-farming hoax on Facebook.
If you see a post like this in your News Feed, it's a good idea to report it to Facebook. That could help stop it from going viral. Here is how to report a post:
- Click the downward pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the post.
- Click Report post or Report photo.
- Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.
How to avoid like-farming scams
Many of the scams found on Facebook 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.
You will also frequently see posts that are supposedly from someone who recently won a large sum of money from a lottery. If you like and share the post, you could receive a portion of the winnings.
It isn't just posts either; it can also be pages. A scammer might set up a page for "I love Star Wars" or what appears to be a legitimate 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 suggestions and they will help you avoid Facebook like-farming scams:
- Your best bet is to be very careful 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.