Facebook is one of the most popular platforms with cybercriminals and scammers, and with good reason. Just about anyone can fall victim to their attacks, no matter how educated the target. Take Entrepreneur business news editor Sam Silverman, who wrote a column this week detailing their own experience of falling victim to a scammer while trying to sell a pair of pants on Facebook Marketplace.
According to Silverman, a nice-seeming woman reached out to buy the pair of pants using the financial transfer platform Zelle. Silverman then received what seemed like a legitimate email from Zelle saying that the seller had to update to a business account in order to complete the transaction. Of course, this came with a $300 fee — which is exactly what the scammer wanted to get. Experts say this technique of impersonating trusted companies is common, and that it’s easy to get people to believe it.
“Technologies have made it easier to do a better job of impersonating,” cybersecurity expert AJ Nash told Entrepreneur. “It costs very little to buy a domain that looks very close to the real one. It’s a misspelling, or they use a lowercase ‘L’ to replace a capital ‘I.’ There’s a lot of different ways to set that up.”
“The longer you go down those paths, if adversaries link things together and layer them, the more trust it creates,” Nash continued. “If you believed the first thing, then everything else is going to reinforce that as a potential victim.”
It’s always a good idea to be skeptical of any account asking you to send money on Facebook. As cases like this show, even if everything looks legit, it still might end up being a scam.
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