Fake Social Media Messages

You see you’ve received a message in FB Messenger from a friend. When you open it,it says something like “This video looks like you!” Or “click if you love puppies” — something like that.

You see your friend’s avatar on the message, so you go ahead and click. Now you see a notice that you’ll need to re-log into FB to view the video. If you’re smart and paying attention, you will NOT type in your info.  Instead you’ll close the message, and move on.

But what if you’re scrolling while tired, or distracted by work or conversation, and you just go ahead and enter your FB info? Instantly, a bot (program) seizes your user name/password and replicates the fake message to every single Facebook “friend” you have.

Now some of them might click on the link too, replicating the scam again and again, involving more accounts. People will start alerting you that your account was hacked. Some will be angry with you. You might feel pretty dumb. (Please don’t. These emails are designed to get you to respond. All of us have fallen for this stuff at some point. 🙂 )

  1. Messenger Safety
    Be careful responding to messages from strangers. Some of these are perfectly innocent, but a lot of them are scams, so be cautious. Accounts that appear to be from males often hit on women with messages that flatter their photos. “Hi Pretty! I saw your profile and…” Don’t respond. Even a “thanks” might be enough to get you added to lists of vulnerable people and you’ll get more phony messages. Ignore.
  2. Never ever provide your login credentials, or re-login, to play a game, watch a video, vote for your favorite Star Trek character, or whatever.  Just don’t do it.
  3. If you have accidentally entered your user/pass, change your password right now!
  4. Some messaging apps offer a way to delete messages.  At the time of this writing, FB has an option to unsend.  It’s not perfect, but it can be a thoughtful gesture to go in and delete the message. An announcement on your profile that your account got hacked is helpful too.  Warn your friends not to open a message that purports to be from you.
  5. Be cautious accepting “friend” requests.  Sometimes a person who is already a friend seems to send a “friend request”.  Don’t blindly accept it; accounts can be easily copied, same photos and avatar.  Once they get your accounts connected by being”friends”, they can start messaging you, posting to your page, etc.  You might get phony requests for money, get-rich-quick schemes, attempts at blackmail or sales pitches for boner pills.  It can really mess up your account, so be safe instead.
  6. Look for your friend’s original page, listed in your “friends”.  Message them directly from their page and ask them if they have started a new duplicate page.  Almost always, it’s fake.  And it’s polite to let them know, so they can post a warning.
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