How to Protect Yourself From Facebook Friend Request Scams | In the past, most types of malware and online scams were delivered by email. Eventually, people got wise to the digital risks and learned how to protect themselves. As a result, cybercriminals took their efforts to other platforms, including Facebook and other social media. Here are some effective ways to spot Facebook scams and protect yourself online.
A Morphing Scam
Over the years, the Facebook friend request scam has morphed in various ways. The oldest version of the scam, now known as the “classic” version, is still the most widespread. This is where the cybercriminal clones one of your friends’ whole accounts and starts sending requests to everyone on that person’s friend list in hopes they will be accepted by as many people as possible. Then, the cybercriminal will continue pretending to be your friend and start asking you for money or your personal information.
Signs of the Scam
You shouldn’t be receiving a second friend request from someone who is already on your friend list. Typically, this type of scam involves receiving messages from a friend who’s been arrested in a foreign country and needs funds. On the surface, it’s a simple scam. However, it also takes careful planning and extensive research into the potential victim. Facebook users based in Western Europe and North America are the most common targets because criminals believe they are well off and can bring high returns if their scam works.
After selecting a target, the criminal will copy their profile and any photos on it. The scam’s success potential increases with every person who accepts the friend request because mutual friends their profile things seem more credible. Asking for money is the final step. Alternatively, the scammer may start sending messages containing links loaded with malware.
Hide your friend list to stop scammers from cloning your account. If you have received a suspicious friend request, you should contact your friend to ask whether it is genuine. Moreover, it is important to avoid friending people with very few posts or very little information on their Facebook profiles. If you suspect their account is fake, you should report it at once.
The next tip should be obvious – avoid sending money to someone whose friend request you just accepted. If you just met someone on the street and they asked you for money, would you give it to them? When it comes to scams, the digital world is nothing but a reflection of real life.
Furthermore, you should never share any financial details on Facebook and think carefully before you click on a link in a message from a friend, especially if you have recently accepted their friend.
Dealing With the Consequences
If you fell for a scam, it is not the end of the world. You should get in touch with the friend whose account was compromised and tell them about it. Moreover, you should follow Facebook’s instructions to report the account and do so without delay. If you gave the cybercriminal any login information or other details, you should change them at once. If you have shared your financial details, you should notify both Facebook and your bank. Above all, don’t panic. You’re not the first or last person who’s fallen for the friend request scam.
In addition, you should not hesitate to question anything that seems suspicious. Cybercriminals are tirelessly working on new and improved social media scams. Gaining awareness of these issues can help you protect yourself and other people from a large number of complex scams criminals perpetrate through social networks.