Facebook is the most popular social network worldwide, has become a voice for the voiceless, and has always been an incredible tool for empowering all of us to speak, express, and promote their ideas that benefit them. Facebook is the primary medium used to promote business and services. Consumers today expect trustworthy brand relationships through celebrity endorsements, but trends show that brands are shifting away from expensive celebrity endorsements and moving towards social media influencer marketing to promote their products or services.
With a huge group of people connected via a network, it has also become the most prospective place for scammers to look for their victims. It becomes easy for these fraudsters to find links and connections through the social media handle.
(a) Facebook Impersonation Scam – Cybercriminals gain access to all of the victim’s personal information by hacking the victim’s Facebook account. Scammers use social engineering techniques to create a full social profile and collect all information, including social status, connections, and his association with connections.
Once the impersonated account is complete, the scammer attempts to contact all of his friends and family and add them to his impersonated or fake account. The scammer usually tries to ask for money and transfer money to the mentioned account, claiming he urgently needs money as a family member is in the hospital and needs money to pay for ICU charges, etc.
(b) Romance Scam – Social media creates an opportunity for young women and men living in socially conservative non-western societies to be able to communicate, meet, and engage in forbidden intimacy and forbidden behaviours. Though Facebook isn’t a dating website, it’s a standard place to seek out love. They target singles and strike up a web relationship with them for the purpose of manipulating their emotions and getting money through any means necessary.
Fraudsters will use impersonated profiles to pose as doctors, pilots, scientists, etc. in foreign countries seeking alliances or friendship. They’ll start chatting with sweet words, which they’ll use to flirt for the time being. Once the victim starts to trust the romance scammer and believes they need a truthful relationship, they will tell people all kinds of plausible stories, claiming financial or health crises after another.
Some scammers coerce you into sharing private moments, which can result in a variety of outcomes, such as (i) proposal turns extortion (ii) pretty woman is a man (iii) making a gay man pay (iv) I have your sex recording
(c) Charity Scam – Many genuine charities are supporting such families, and other people are very active in fund-raising to assist them. We have plenty of fake charities offering to (i) Raising funds for disasters, (ii) provide medical or educational help for poor children, etc.
These fake charities often do not have a physical address but have very fancy websites and social profiles. They are so good that you get tempted to donate just by looking at their profiles. The majority of these bogus charities do not provide valid bank information, instead offering a PO Box or a PayPal account. Legitimate charities reveal all of their information, including their physical address, bank account information, expense information, funding information, and key resources.
(d) Shopping Scams – Facebook has grown from a simple social platform to a robust e-commerce platform. All businesses regularly promote their goods and services via sponsored posts. Unfortunately, cybercriminals capitalise on the popularity of portal and use this platform to post scam advertisements.
Scammers create fake electronic or clothing brand accounts to push imitation goods. The scams have offers, i.e., buy one, get one free, prelaunch, etc., and push scam advertisements. Most sellers have very good social profiles, and a few of them are even promoted by social media influencers. They offer goods at unreasonably cheap prices, but don’t deliver the goods and disappear after you transfer the money.
How to keep yourself safe on Facebook:
There are many things you can do to maintain your safety and avoid becoming a victim. Here are few of them listed for easy reference.
- Lock your Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/help/196419427651178
- Use a strong, complex password with special characters and numerical
- Enable two-factor authentication for your account.
- Shop only from verified brand accounts.
- Connect with known people only.
- Be suspicious if any of your known or unknown contacts asks for money on a Facebook chat.
- Never click on short links without verifying their authenticity. You can use https://www.isitphishing.org
- Configure your privacy settings. https://www.facebook.com/help/193677450678703
- Reporting in-appropriate content and profiles. https://www.facebook.com/help/212722115425932
- Reporting a hacked Page https://www.facebook.com/hacked
- Reporting a Page https://www.facebook.com/help/355811251195044
- Reporting Impersonation https://www.facebook.com/help/174210519303259?rdrhc
What if fraud happens on Facebook:
First (a) Report the scam or issue on the Facebook portal. (b) Change Your Password (c) Block the Account (If someone is harassing, trolling, or threatening you.) (d) Store the screen shots of payments, or bullying, etc. (e) If your problem is not resolved on Facebook, file a complaint at https://cybercrime.gov.in/ or contact your local police station. Alternatively, victims can call Helpline No. 1930, which is manned and operated by the respective State Police officers.