Scammers and cybercriminals often try to take advantage of Facebook users with fraudulent advertisements. However, these scams are particularly prevalent during the holiday season, and many experts are warning users to be careful what they click.
According to a report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reports of online scams have risen eight-fold since the second quarter of 2016. Many of these scams take the form of fake shopping websites that create advertisements using photos of real products from other companies. Often, users who spend their hard-earned money on these products either don’t receive anything, or they get a junk version of what they bought. To make matters worse, the real business owners behind these products are often contacted by angry shoppers who want to know what happened with their order.
Naturally, many businesses and consumer advocates have pressured Facebook to clean up its act and crack down on these scammers. But while these posts technically violate Facebook’s rules, experts say the company has made virtually no progress in eliminating them.
“There hasn’t been any improvement since we started,” anti-scam activist Brian Denny told TIME. “Facebook has as many excuses as to why this problem isn’t fixed as the scammers have in saying why they can’t Facetime with you.”
As consumers, all we can do is be more attentive about what we’re clicking — and especially what we’re buying — on social media. Facebook can do better to tackle this issue, but everyday users will be the ones who will need to lead the way.
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