Very few words can capture one’s attention more than the word ‘FREE.’ You would think that the constant use and overuse by marketers worldwide would eventually desensitize us to its power, but such is not the case. Just seeing the word on a page, in an online advertisement, or hearing it on the television or the radio is enough for the average person to stop and take notice.
Facebook scammers and spammers have enjoyed great success with the lure of false promises. At any given moment, you don’t have to look very hard to find the following “Free” offers or scams on Facebook:
- Free iPads, iPhones, Computers, etc. -Including iPad Giveway and other ‘Giveaway’ Pages
- Free Gift Cards & Vouchers
- Free Airline Ticket Offers
- Free Facebook Credits
- Free Facebook Events
- Free Virtual & Game Items
- Facebook Lotteries & Promotions
99% of the time, the end game encountered by unsuspecting users is either a survey scam or a marketing gimmick where you have to complete several ‘special’, ‘reward’ or ‘bonus’ offers to qualify for the promotion. These offers often cost real money, and we have yet to hear of a case where the participant actually received anything after jumping through all of the hoops. (if you know of someone that has, please have them send us an email with the details – info[at]facecrooks[dot]com)
What’s in it for the scammers?
So why do the scam creators go through all of the trouble? If there is a word more powerful than ‘FREE,” it could be ‘MONEY.’ The more benign scams are run by marketing companies that get paid a commission for each survey completed or offer accepted. Users often submit their name, date of birth, home address, email address and phone number while signing up for the ‘special’ offers. As you can imagine, this is a treasure trove of data for unscrupulous marketers and identity thieves.
Another danger with survey scams is the potential for malware infections. Users are often tricked into downloading what they think are games, browser plug-ins or other files. If their system isn’t protected, then they could unknowingly install a virus, keylogger, or all sorts of other malware.
How can you protect yourself from these scams?
- The first step is to be aware that scams like this are prevalent on Facebook. If you have the mindset that most of the ‘free’ offers you encounter are bogus, then you’ll be a step ahead of the game.
- Think before you Click! If the offer sounds too good to be true, then don’t click that link! There is no way a company can afford to give every Facebook user a $25.00, $50.00 or $100.00 gift card. A little common sense here tells you that something is way off base.
- If the offer being presented sounds like it could be legitimate, then contact the company to verify the promotion. Visit their website or contact them on the telephone. This will only take a few moments and could save you a lot of trouble down the road.
As the old saying goes, “if it sounds too good to be true, then it usually is.” No where are these words of wisdom more applicable than on Facebook!
These scams can often lead users to install rogue Facebook applications or rogue browser extensions. This is done to spread the spam message to the Facebook friends of the compromised account. Use the guides shown below to clean up an account after this type of Facebook scam:
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