Facebook Like-Farming: Are You One Click Away from a Scam?
Think before you like or share clickbait
They lure you in with an offer to win a new laptop or a trip to Disney, or perhaps a heart-tugging picture of a child with a sad condition or life-threatening disease. The Facebook post asks you to like and maybe share the post to enter the giveaway or to show your support and offer your prayers for the sick kid.
In the case of the computer giveaway, you may even be asked to leave a comment with the color of the laptop you’d like.
Proceed with caution. You may be one “like” away from a scam.
Related: Free Stuff? Don’t Take the Bait
In so-called “like-farming” schemes, someone posts a photo or giveaway on Facebook with the intent of collecting as many likes and shares as possible. After accumulating enough, the page owner scraps the content and replaces it with something else — maybe an ad, survey or link that contains malware. Or worse, the owner may sell the page and the information on all the people who liked or shared it on the black market, which can lead to identity theft.
If the page you liked has access to Facebook’s apps, scammers can collect personal data from you, including your gender, location, age and any credit card information stored in your account. This can help scammer make more customized scams, warns the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
To combat like-farming, Facebook created an algorithm in 2013 to detect high quality content and bury any potential scam or low-quality content.
The BBB encourages you to report any suspicious posts to Facebook immediately for their review. You can do so by clicking on the down arrow in the upper right-hand corner of the post and select “report post.”
The anti-scam website Hoax-Slayer recommends being wary of any post or page that promises prizes just for liking, sharing or commenting. The site gives three tips to avoid these scams:
1. Use common sense. If a post claims to give away thousands of electronics that would cost a lot of money because they are unsealed or can’t be sold, stay away from it. Genuine promotions offer prizes to a select few, not thousands of participants. If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
2. Illogical claims. Giving away thousands of dollars worth of computers. Run the other way. Keep an eye out for outrageous claims and use poor grammar and spelling. Still unsure? Scroll down and see when the page was created. If it was only a few days ago, the page is most likely a scam. Big brands offering promotions are often have older and well-established pages. Look through the brand’s official website too to verify any contests.
3. Terms and Conditions are vague. If the contest post doesn’t clarify the conditions of entry, contact information for the company or legal terms of the contest, be wary of liking or sharing the post.
Related: How to Handle Online Trolls
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