Common Facebook Scams and How to Avoid Them

Lukas Grigas
Cybersecurity Content Writer
facebook scams

With almost 3 billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the most successful online platforms that the world has ever seen. However, with that success and the enormous user base, the social network is often a hotbed for online scams. Although Facebook has various defensive measures to stop scams, some inevitably make it through the cracks.

Today, we’re exploring Facebook scams and covering simple yet effective ways to protect yourself from even the most sophisticated and elaborate scams on Facebook. Let’s jump in.

Most common Facebook scams

With each day, the bad actors behind online scams get better. They are always looking for new, more sophisticated, and innovative ways to trick unsuspecting people online into giving up their personal information or even money. The variety of scams that you can come across on Facebook is wide. Here are some of the most common scams you can encounter while using Facebook.

Lottery scams

Fake lottery scams — just as the name hints – are hackers' attempts to trick unsuspecting people into believing that they've won a lottery prize. In most instances, bad actors urge the duped individual to provide personal information such as name, address, email address, and other personally identifiable information to receive the fake prize. In reality, hackers get what they want — your personal information and are gone before you know it.

Romance scams

Romance scams are the oldest types of online scams. The romance scam is designed to emotionally manipulate the potential victim into sending the fraudster money or providing their personal information. In most instances, scammers approach the potential victim out of the blue and start building what might appear as a trustworthy relationship. As soon as the scammer feels that the victim is vulnerable, they'll defraud them and disappear.

Loan scams

Loan scams are pretty popular on Facebook. In most instances, scammers will advertise the fake loan with various public posts claiming how easy it was to get a loan with fantastic interest rates. Unfortunately, none of that is accurate, and in reality, scammers look to defraud potential victims by asking them to place a security deposit before they can receive the entire loan.

Job Scams

Job scams are similar to loan scams and tend to follow the same pattern. In most cases, scammers post ads and public posts claiming great job opportunities with amazing pay. You might also see fake testimonials from people who allegedly took the chance and came out on top. Sadly, bad actors behind job scams essentially want to get hands-on information such as name, address, email address, Social Security number, insurance status, and other sensitive data that could help bad actors steal your identity.

Phishing scams

Phishing scams are the oldest trick in the book. Though traditionally associated with email, these days, phishing scams are making their way into most social media networks. Regardless of the medium, phishing scams trick people into downloading a malicious file or clicking on a link. In most cases, a phishing message will mimic a legitimate source and urge you to click a link or download an attachment to solve a problem. Doing so often results in your device being infected with malicious software, which can provide bad actors with unauthorized access to your machine.

Shopping scams

Besides being a social media platform, Facebook has successfully branched out and become a prolific e-commerce site. It seems that there are very few things that you can't get on Facebook these days. Scammers know that and try their best to profit from unsuspecting shoppers on Facebook. Bad actors set up fake brand accounts to sell counterfeit goods. They also might offer prices that are “too good to be true.” In most cases, scammers do not deliver any goods and are gone before you know it.

Facebook quizzes and game scams

Who doesn't love a good game or a quiz to pass a few minutes? Bad actors know that and take advantage of it by setting up quizzes and game scams on Facebook. In most instances, such scams are designed to extract various sensitive data from the person who engages in the scam.

Giveaway scams

Giveaway scams fall under that “too good to be true” category. Scammers usually set up pages and run ads that tell users about the fantastic opportunity at a giveaway. In most cases, users are urged to like or share posts to get a better chance of winning the giveaway. Once that is done, people are made to believe they are on the shortlist of potential winners. Unfortunately, the only party that gets a prize is scammers. The award is your personal information.

Ad scams

Even though Facebook ads are heavily regulated, scammers have their ways of bypassing restrictions and displaying completely fake ads to users every day. Usually, these ads push “get rich quick” schemes or products at prices too low to be true. Such ads often lead to suspicious third-party websites where you are urged to make a payment or deposit. It goes without saying that doing so will inevitably lead to the loss of money and sensitive information.

“It's you in this video” scams

The cleverly named “it's you in this video” scams are essentially phishing attacks. However, instead of urging you to fix something on your device, “it's you in this video” scams encourage users to see a video of themselves. Unfortunately, once the user clicks the alleged link to the video, they are usually redirected to a third-party malicious site that could be designed to infect the potential victim's device with malware.

How to spot scams on Facebook

As the saying goes, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. When you encounter a deal that looks out of this world, please take a second and realize that it could very well be a scam. If you want to be sure, take your time and check the Facebook page that promotes the deal. See if it is legitimate, and see what other people have to say about it and their experience with it.

Another telltale sign that you’ve encountered a Facebook scam is poor grammar. For some reason, scammers don’t bother with proper spelling or punctuation. If you notice significant errors in a post or the text on images, take it as a warning sign that you’ve encountered a scam.

At the end of the day, spotting a Facebook scam takes attention to detail. Therefore, be diligent about what you click on and engage with on the social network, and you should be able to steer clear of most online scams.

What to do if you get scammed

Getting scammed on Facebook can be a distressing experience. If you’ve fallen victim to a scam, don’t panic, and take action immediately to limit the consequences of the scam. Here’s what you should do.

Report the scam to Facebook

Reporting a scam on Facebook takes just a few minutes. You can find the “Report” option on any Facebook page, post, ad, or profile. Doing so might even safeguard others from falling victim to a scam.

Change your password

If scammers stole your personal information, it is not unlikely that they were able to obtain your passwords, at least for Facebook. If you tend to reuse passwords, it could put your other online accounts at risk. Changing your password as soon as you realize you’ve been scammed will allow you to stay safe online.

Check your financial accounts

If you’ve fallen victim to a Facebook scam, checking your financial accounts diligently is critical. Look for any suspicious transactions, even for the smallest amount. Check for dubious withdrawals or anything else that might seem out of the ordinary. Consider notifying the financial institution that your account could be in danger.

Consider identity theft monitoring tools

Hackers try their best to get their hands on your personal information for a reason. Often that reason is identity theft, which for the victim means trouble. Taking advantage of your identity, hackers can apply for loans or credit cards and even vote on your behalf. To avoid that, we recommend looking into identity theft monitoring tools.

How to avoid scams on Facebook

Avoiding a Facebook scam is not that difficult of a task. However, the key is being aware of the dangers that lurk and paying attention. Here are some tips that should help you stay safe on Facebook.

  • Enable privacy settings

    Adjusting your privacy settings on your Facebook profile is one of the most important steps to lower the chances of encountering scams while enjoying the social network. Here's a quick guide on how to do that.

    1. Log in to your Facebook profile.

    2. Select your profile image located in the upper right corner.

    3. Click “Settings & privacy.”

    4. Select “Privacy checkup.”

    5. Follow the steps on the “Privacy checkup” page.

  • Enable multi-factor authentication

    Enabling MFA automatically adds an extra layer of security to your Facebook account. MFA works by adding an additional step of authentication to access the accounts. The extra step usually includes entering a 4-8 digit code, often sent to your email or phone. So even if scammers can get their hands on your passwords, with MFA enabled, they still won’t be able to access it. Here's how you can set up MFA on your Facebook profile.

    1. Log in to your Facebook profile.

    2. Select your profile image located in the upper right corner.

    3. Click “Settings & privacy.”

    4. Now select “Settings.”

    5. Click “Security and login.”

    6. Scroll down, and under “Two-factor authentication,” select “Edit.”

    7. Click “Turn on” under the Two-factor authentication.

    8. Follow the instructions on the screen to add a device or email for two-factor authentication.

  • Don't add to anyone you don't know a friends list

    Having people you don't know on your Facebook friends list can backfire. The equation is simple. The more dubious friends you have on Facebook, the more likely you'll be targeted in a scam. Try to limit your friends' list to real-life acquaintances only.

  • Be suspicious of messages on Facebook

    Avoid any message that comes your way from an unknown sender. Scammers rely on gullible users and trick them into giving up personal information or even money. Always double-check where the message is coming from.

  • Don't click on suspicious links or attachments

    This step goes hand in hand with the previous tip. Avoid clicking on any link or downloading any attachments that come your way via Facebook. Unless it is a friend sharing a link to a funny video, chances are that bad actors are trying to scam you into downloading and installing a malicious piece of software on your device.

  • Use a strong password and keep your credentials safe in a password manager

    Create a strong and unique password to secure your Facebook account. Make sure not to reuse that password anywhere else. For that matter, be sure to refrain from reusing passwords altogether. That can be challenging. Not with a password manager, though.

    By employing a password manager such as , you will no longer have to remember your passwords because it will do it for you. NordPass is a secure and easy-to-use password manager designed to facilitate a smooth and safe online experience for individual and corporate users. With advanced security and productivity features such as Autofill, Autosave, and Password Health, NordPass is the key to online productivity and peace of mind.

  • Only shop from verified accounts

    Scammers are notorious for setting up fake brand pages and scamming unsuspecting people into purchasing goods that never materialize. To lower your chances of falling victim to a shopping scam on Facebook, stick to verified accounts and vendors only.

  • Use common sense

    If the deal seems to be too good to be true, it more than likely is. Use common sense to your advantage – that might be all you need to do to stay secure on Facebook.

Bottom line

Even though Facebook applies a variety of security measures to limit scams on its platforms, bad actors continue to find creative ways to bypass all security measures. Therefore, staying alert and aware of the potential dangers on the platform is the surest way to stay safe on it.

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