The spreading of "fake news" has gotten out of control lately. Facebook has been one of the worst culprits, with an overabundance of fake news stories populating its site.
It's hard enough trying to decipher which news stories are real or fake, but things are getting worse. Now, you have to watch out for fake ads as well.
How fake ads are plaguing Facebook
People are seeing fake ads showing up in their News Feeds. A recent example is an ad claiming that Queen Elizabeth has died.
If you click on one of these fake ads, you will be taken to a fraudulent site. In the case of the "Queen Elizabeth has died" ad, clicking on it led to a fake Facebook page claiming that your computer could be infected with a virus and you needed to call a phone number that was provided to get rid of it. Of course, this is a scam.
The news of fake ads populating the social media giant's site comes right after the company took steps to thwart fake news. We recently told you how Facebook is trying to deal with sham accounts that create the fake news.
Even though the company is trying to rid its site of fake news, anyone can pay Facebook to post an ad. The advertisement goes through an automated system, which allows for fake ads to slip through.
Facebook relies on its users to report fake ads. Once the company verifies the ad is not real, they are removed from the site.
If you see any ad on the site that you believe is fake, you're asked to take a screen shot of it and report it. Click here if you want to report an ad.
Don't be scammed on Facebook
It's very important that you use caution when using social media. Here are some quick ways you can avoid scams and protect your Facebook account against various threats.
- Update your Facebook security settings - If it's been a while since you tweaked your settings, it's a good idea to run through Facebook's security checkup. Keeping your account private and secure can help you stay out of sight from hackers and scammers.
- Be cautious with links - If you get a notification or see a post that you find suspicious, don't click on its links. It's better to type the website's address directly into a browser than clicking on a link. Before you ever click on a link, hover over it with your mouse to see where it is going to take you. If the destination isn't what the link claims, do not click on it.
- Do an online search - If you see an ad that makes outrageous claims, like Sylvester Stallone has died, instead of clicking on the post, do an online search on the topic. If the story is true you will find it on a legitimate news source.
- Watch for typos - Scams are infamous for having typos. If you see an ad that is riddled with spelling and grammar errors, they're most likely fake.