You might just use Facebook for watching funny cat videos, but crooks use it to steal your money and information.
1. Taking quizzes
Your friend just found out what ‘80s pop star is their spirit animal and now you can’t wait to find out either.
Don’t let your curiosity get the better of you, though.
Some Facebook quizzes will ask for access to your profile, and others will even go a step further by throwing certain questions into the quiz itself, says Adam Levin, founder of global identity protection and data risk services firm CyberScout and author of Swiped.
“They’re purely to gather information because … they could be the answers to security questions,” he says.
Only take quizzes on sites you know and trust, and create fake answers for password recovery questions so they’re hard to crack, says Levin.
It might be easy enough for Facebook scams to figure out your mother’s maiden name, so leave an easy-to-remember lie instead.
2. Insane giveaways
Free iPad giveaway? Sign me up! But wait—before you click that sweepstakes link, ask yourself whether it seems real, says Eva Velasquez, CEO and president of Identity Theft Resource Center.
“Yes there are legitimate sweepstakes and raffles and giveaways, but there’s usually an end goal there,” she says.
Most companies are hoping the promise of a free iPad (or flight or jewelry) will entice you enough to, say, sign up for a newsletter or buy a product.
Before you give any personal information to a company, weigh the chances of winning with what you’ll lose giving up personal information.
3. The “new” old friend
Be skeptical if you receive a friend request from someone you could have sworn already had a Facebook page.
Sure, some people like to clean house by ditching their old profiles, but other friend requests aren’t so innocent.
Scammers will clone a person’s entire Facebook profile, creating a fake profile of a real person. From your “friend’s” page, the hacker could send a link for a get-rich-quick scheme or a cute quote.
It’s the kind of thing you’d ignore from an anonymous e-mail message, but not from a loyal friend.
“They’re banking on the fact that you will trust the message,” says Levin.
The problem is, clicking that link could add malware to your computer.
Before you accept a weird friend request, shoot over a text or call the person to confirm it’s not a fake account.