Scammers like to go where the crowds are, and social networks such as Facebook are rich hunting grounds for potential victims.
Fake Facebook promotions and ‘special offer’ ads can send you to sites where your PC may be infected with malware, or where your personal details can be lifted.
A common example may feature links to online IQ tests, which will text the results to your mobile phone but charge recurring premium rates.
How to spot a Facebook scam
Below is an example of a real Facebook scam that offered a tempting voucher for a familiar high street name. But clicking on the links in the scam could leave your computer exposed to malware or identity theft. We show the warning signs to look out for:
- Genuine retail companies don’t give away high-value vouchers like the fake Ikea deal, pictured above, to all and sundry on Facebook. Freebies and unbelievable offers should sound an alarm.
- The commenters below the Ikea promotion only have first names, which is against Facebook’s rules. The names don’t link to real profiles.
- The comments button doesn’t work – a strong sign that the page is a mock-up.
- Sloppy grammar can be a giveaway. Ikea would never be caught saying: ‘Step 2 will get revealed’.
What you should do
- Before clicking on anything, check where the link is going to send you by hovering over it. Alternatively, right-click over the link itself, and select Copy link address and paste it into a text document, to reveal the actual destination address. If it doesn’t link to Ikea.com - or whichever website it's claiming to be - then don’t click through.
- Never provide your mobile number or any other personal information, including your date of birth, to a web company that you have never heard of.