Caution: Internet scamming
From snake oil salesmen and pool hall hustlers to Nigerian princes and Spanish prisoners, scams were happening long before the Internet. Unfortunately, the Internet has made things worse.
Modern scammers can reach billions of potential victims with a single message. And their scams are getting better every day. If you aren't paying attention, you could fall for a scam and not ever realize it.
One of the easiest places to encounter online scams is Facebook. Facebook encourages sharing, which means certain scams can travel far and wide.
These are not harmless scams either. Some of them can install viruses that take over your account or steal your money. Yikes!
Here are four popular scams that should set off your warning bells as soon as you see them.
• Free giveaways
The easiest scam to fall for on Facebook is a free giveaway. You'll see everything from gift cards to free tablets, laptops and smartphones. Who doesn't like free?
Just one catch. You have to give the “company” your information. Or you have to download a program to qualify.
With the information you enter, a scammer has a foothold into stealing your identity. Entering your cellphone number often leads to bogus premium charges appearing on your wireless bill.
It's true that some companies do give away free stuff through Facebook. When they do, however, it's promoted on that company's official Facebook page.
If you check the company's page or website and don't see the giveaway, steer clear.
• Viral videos
Almost as exciting as winning free gadgets is seeing the latest viral video. However, many supposedly salacious celebrity “videos” posted on Facebook are not videos at all.
When you click to watch, you'll be asked to update your video player first. You'll even be provided with the updated program file. How helpful!
Of course, the program is really a virus. Plus, it will automatically share the scam with all of your friends.
This one is easy to avoid. Type the video's title into Google. You should see a link to it on YouTube. If the video is not on YouTube or a legitimate news site, it's a scam.
• Custom profiles
Another common scam offers to change your Facebook profile look or layout.
These scams try to trick you into installing a rogue Facebook app. If you do, you give the scammer access to your personal data.
Again, this scam is easy to avoid. Just remember, there's no official, or unofficial, way to change your Facebook layout.
• Who viewed your profile?
Knowing who views your profile is the Holy Grail of social media. Who doesn't want to know who is cyber-stalking them?
That's why this scam has been around almost as long as Facebook. No matter how often Facebook says it isn't possible, people still want to believe it is.
The best you can do is see who has unfriended you.
If you want to keep track of every scam happening on Facebook, the site Facecrooks is updated with scams as they break.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Conventional gas, oil drillers seek rules differing from shale industry in Pennsylvania
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset
- Man shot in attempted home invasion in North Braddock
- Figure in probe of improper influence in federal investor visa program gave Rendell $15K illegally
- Stocks of Pittsburgh-area companies set record in March
- Police mum on Rostraver house probe
- Pennsylvania religious freedom law does not extend to for-profits
- Pitt football team working to fatten up QB sack total on defense
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters