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In the last two years, there’s been no let up for Facebook as one of the biggest breeding grounds for scams. Some of these scams may beg believability (are there really that many online superstar sex tapes going around?), and with some scams, it’s understandable why people fall for them again and again.
But forewarned is forearmed. To raise awareness among Facebook users, we recently released a list of the top 10 scams making rounds on the social network in the last two years.
The singer and actress Taylor Swift lost some of her scam appeal; a scam
promising a sex tape of her spread a lot more slowly in the last two years. No such luck for Rihanna. The Grammy-winner continues to be used as malware bait through an alleged sex tape of her and her boyfriend.
To tell the difference between malware-ridden bait and genuine content, keep reading. Here’s the complete list of 10 Facebook scams from the last two years – and ways to avoid falling for them.
1. Total profile views/visitors (Check out now who viewed your profile): 30.20% of the total number of analyzed scams
‘Total profile views’ scams have been circulating in many variations almost since the dawn of Facebook and remain at the top. Not only do they appeal to users’ inherent desire to track their popularity, but many users now switch from one network to another, and are used to the legitimate “who’s viewed your profile” feature on LinkedIn, giving the Facebook scam understandable credibility. In fact, the scam
has gained so much traction that Facebook has included it in its common myths section and had to specify in its policy that it doesn’t offer such a feature. It also advised users to report apps that pretend to show who is viewing their profile or posts.
No matter the lobby, the ‘total profile views’ scam continues to circulate in various forms through malicious browser add-ons, dedicated profiles, and community pages. The best way to avoid falling for the most popular Facebook scam is to temper your curiosity and mistrust such apps – unless you coded them yourself.
2. Change your Facebook Color/Colour: 7.38% of the total number of analyzed scams
Clearly, many people would love to personalize their Facebook experience much in the same way they might customize the look of their browsers or music players. Unfortunately, the offer to change your Facebook color is only a
scam, which leads users to fraudulent surveys and installs an array of malicious browser extensions. Avoid clicking on “change your Facebook color” add-ons even if they look legitimate or come from your closest friends. They may have been scammed as well and now promote malicious code without even knowing it.
3. Rihanna sex tape with her boyfriend: 4.76% of the total number of analyzed scams
This scam has evolved since last year when it lured aroused users with a sex tape promising exclusive footage of Rihanna ALONE. But she’s certainly not alone. Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Chris Brown are just a few of the celebrity names abused in similar Facebook scams. The easiest way to protect yourself from sex tape scams is to stop searching for porn on Facebook. But if you already clicked on a link promising a sex tape with your favorite celebrity, check your timeline and activity log to see if
you have fallen victim to likejacking and delete any malicious content posted on your behalf. Get rid of dubious apps from your app center, too.
Note: It seems Rihanna is either loved or really hated on Facebook as she has also been “killed” on the social media platform several times. Be careful not to click on exclusive videos of her alleged death. They are just as bogus as her sex tapes.
4. Check my status update to get a free Facebook T-shirt from Facebook: 4.21% of the total number of analyzed scams
This is a newcomer in the top 10 Facebook scams. As much as you might want to claim your allegiance to the social network, avoid falling for free Facebook T-shirt, voucher, gift and giveaway scams by only participating in official contests. Remember to double-check the page and profile offering “goodies” – make sure it’s an authentic one, and not a copy-cat.
5. Say Goodbye to Blue Facebook (Dites Aurevoir
au Facebok BLEU): 2.76% (France) of the total number of analyzed scams
Sacre bleu! The French keep falling for this variation of the “change your Facebook color” scam and it seems it’s the nation most willing to customize timelines. Another French-targeted scam lures users with the promise of “hacking Facebook for free.” Hundreds of this type of scam have been spreading like wildfire recently on French timelines, promising users ways to hack the social network of husbands, wives, kids, and lovers.
6. Unsealed. We are giving them away for free: 2.41% of the total number of analyzed scams
Yes, it is too good to be true. To avoid falling for “unsealed” electronics scams – a newcomer in the 10 most popular Facebook e-threats – don’t respond to the request to verify the identity of the “donor.” In general, nothing unsealed is given away for free on the social network. The price may be a Trojan mining your personal data
or a fraudulent survey heading for your banking details. Please, I’m telling you – it is not advisable to give those up even for an in-perfect-condition unsealed hair straightener or a coveted set of headphones.
7. Check if a friend has deleted you: 2.27% of the total number of analyzed scams
This is another curiosity that Facebook users end up paying for with their credentials. Like the ‘change your Facebook color’ scam, no such feature exists on Facebook – so avoid clicking. If you’re really concerned about being dropped by a friend, you can manually check if you’ve been deleted by searching your friend’s name and seeing that heart-wrenching “add friend” button. Was it something you said or is it just another Facebook drama?
8. See your top 10 profile peekers here! You will be shocked to find out your ex is still creeping on your profile!: 1.74% of the total number of analyzed scams
peekers, ex-lovers, stalkers, overly-attached girlfriends or boyfriends or simply viewers – there’s no “unicorn” more popular and more diverse than this sticky group of scams. You are not going to see any explicit list of your stalkers, that’s for sure. To avoid installing malware on your computer or smartphone, just ask your exes if they are still creeping around your profile. They aren’t worth that much effort, anyway.
9. Find out how to see who viewed your profile (Encontré la manera de ver quien ve mí perfil. No sabes las sorpresas!): 1.55% (Spanish-speaking countries) of the total number of analyzed scams
The Spanish are also into seeing who has been viewing their “perfil.” To attract as many victims as possible, cyber-criminals promise a series of “sorpresas.” Just resist this level of drama with a firm “no, Señor.”
10. Just changed my Facebook theme. It’s amazing: 1.50% of the total number of
This personal, “sincere” one-friend-to-another message is another newcomer in this year’s most popular 10 Facebook scams’ list. Do not trust it – even if it’s from your mother.
To wrap up, the past couple of years have seen a proliferation of Facebook scams to parallel the social network’s growth. Most are based on social engineering and keep pushing the right psychological buttons. To avoid security detection, scammers may use special characters and numbers: a popular variant of the “top profile viewers” scam attracts new victims with the “Check 0ut n0w wh0 viewed ur profile.” Bitdefender research also showed an increasing number of viral video scams abusing Facebook’s like and share options.
Protecting yourself isn’t difficult, though. If you’re reading this, you’ve taken the first important step of staying informed. That said, many users also rely on additional security options such as Bitdefender to keep them safe and clear of those nasty scams. For more information about protecting your social media accounts, you may also check our dedicated security guide.
Bianca Stanescu, the fiercest warrior princess in the Bitdefender news palace, is a down-to-earth Security Analyst with journalism background. Always on to a cybertrendy security story, she’s keeping a close eye on the AV movers and shakers and tries to report their deeds from a fresh new perspective. Proud mother of a 5 year-old, she covers parental control topics and social media dangers, with a view to valiantly cut a safe path for children through the Internet thicket. She likes to let words and facts speak for themselves.
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