Let me guess. You consider yourself a savvy, tech-embracing hominoid who never falls for #fakenews. You laugh at staged reality television and scoff at emails promising thousands of dollars from Nigerian princes.
But do you share Facebook contests in hopes of winning? If so, you could be the victim of a Facebook scam.
No, Mark Zuckerberg isn’t going to delete your page, you’re not going to win a free Ford Focus, and Mark Wahlburg/Will Ferrell/Miley Cyrus is definitely not moving to your hometown or decided to buy a house there.
With so many scams roaming the www. (wild wild west), sometimes Facebook can feel more like Facecrook, amirite?
These are the most common scams to be aware and cautious of:
Warning: Your Account Will Be Disabled Unless You Share This Status
There are two main methods that accompany this type of online scam – one more vicious than the other.
If you receive a suspicious email or message claiming to be from Facebook and that your account could potentially become disabled, this is most likely spam unless you have forgotten your password and need a reset.
Pay attention to any spelling or grammatical errors in these messages.This is the singular, most easy way to spot a fraud. Facebook also does not have any separate pages named “Facebook Recovery,” “Facebook Security” or any variation. Never give authorization by logging into Twitter or Facebook so you can view a story or a video. Scam apps will screw up your accounts.
Another popular scam that often makes the rounds every few months on Grandparent Facebook is the “Copy and Paste to your Status or Marc Zukerburg will delete your account” posts.
You know the one. The one that claims a vague Channel 13 news and totally legal-sounding piece of legislature called “the Rome Statute.”
Let me let you in on a ‘lil secret: Copy and pasting a status to your timeline does not, in fact, protect your legal rights or private data from one of the world’s largest companies. It’s about as valid as me being next in line to the throne of the British Monarchy. (Harry, holla atcha gurl)
To combat this actual Fake News, Facebook has released multiple statements on the hoax. To determine your own privacy settings, go to Settings → Privacy → and choose your personal settings accordingly.
This is the official statement from Facebook regarding your online privacy:
Honestly, if you fall for this one you kind of deserve it. You have been warned!!1!1
Companies Growing Their Page with False Giveaways
Sorry, you’re not going to win a free trip to Disney World from the “Disney.World Fanz” page.
A good rule of thumb for life in general is if you see someone giving away high-value prizes from an unofficial page, it’s more than likely fake, as much as you hate to admit that your father was right when he said “nothing in life is ever free.”
Although it’s not common practice, it’s more popular than you think for pages build their followers (by any means necessary) in order to sell the admin rights of that page to advertisers. The process usually goes something like this: A page will post either a false giveaway or an image that people will usually agree on universally like “Like and share if you wish there was no more cancer in the world!!”
Another common variation of this scam is pages stealing private photos for sympathy likes and shares. Usually followed with a call-to-action to comment with “amen”.
Posts like this have high potential to go viral with thousands of users commenting and sharing giving the owners of the page access to thousands of accounts which often include their interests, high school, hometown, interests, and other potentially sensitive information.
The opposite side of this scam sees the page being sold with the new owners posting links to their products and soon enough your feed is polluted with iPhone 7’s and personalized t-shirts and apparel based on your interests, profession, or last name. You’ve seen those.
If you purchase and wear one of these shirts unironically I won’t sit with you at the lunch table.
Why [Insert Celebrity] is moving to [City Near You]!
Did you hear??!?!?! An incredible amount of A-list entertainers are moving to random small towns throughout the country after having a flat tire in YOUR TOWN!
I had no idea so many celebrities were moving like the gold rush to so many small towns in West Virginia until 345 of my Facebook friends shared (obviously clickbait) articles stating so.
These links are driving traffic to sites that have a massive amount of advertisements that the blog owners receive affiliate commissions from each time they are clicked.
So now that you know the most popular Facebook hoaxes, feel free to conquer your timeline like a warrior. Godspeed, my friend.