While spam is not a new problem, it is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid for social media users. Scammers are creating bogus accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets that they can use for spam purposes.
For example, a Facebook account claiming to be Six Flags has recently offered a bogus "limited-time" offer for a four-pack of tickets to the user’s nearest location. Upon clicking the link, the user is brought to a Manual Sharing Scam site. This creates a notice on the user’s wall with a “like” for the bogus site in an attempt to virally share the bogus website. For those behind the scam, the payoff comes when victims are taken to a legitimate-looking Facebook spoof page and told that in order to claim the free tickets, they must complete a quick survey. The offer claims that along with the four free Six Flags tickets, the survey could also qualify the user for a Dodge Challenger or free lunches for a year at Chick-fil-A.
Not only are you potentially sharing your personal and possibly financial information to scammers, but you could also be doing even more damage, such as:
- Infection with malicious code
- Stolen passwords or financial data
- Recruitment of your computer into becoming a zombie botnet
With a platform as large as Facebook, no automated system can be perfect. The concern here is that even upon the account being “flagged” by a user, the ease of creating another fake account allows the scam cycle to continue. Some tips to keep your account free of spam are:
- Beware of short links that accompany text on your wall or in a personal message from people who do not normally post links.
- Investigate apps before agreeing to install them when you are linking other accounts or signing in with Facebook.
- Investigate your app settings to ensure that only a limited amount of access will be granted.
- Perform a Google search on the proposed offer by Googling “Six Flags Four Free Tickets Facebook” (or the possible scam you are seeing) because if it is a scam you will see pages and pages regarding the potential destruction.
- Visit your Facebook privacy settings and click on “apps and websites” to see a list of the apps and websites with access to your Facebook page. Remove apps that you do not regularly use.
- Delete all messages posted by the app you have “liked” and notify your friends to do the same.
Bottom line, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Some forms of spam are unavoidable, but for the ones that are, it is as simple as ignoring the “like” from your friends for free, unrealistic offers.