Facebook Users Facing New Online Scam Risks
Scammers targeting Facebook users my seem like old news, but the ways in which criminals cheat you out of your money have definitely changed and are becoming pretty creative. It is always important to alert people about the dangers out in the cyber world and the ways to stay safe. The truth is, even the most skeptical can be a victim of fraud and scam, thanks to advanced tactics used.
Any online activity is risky, from regular email to looking for a job online. But some places are riskier than others. For scamming there is a premise: anything trendy or where there is a lot of money will soon be full of criminals. The more people and connecting with people online on any particular site, the more chances there will be scammers on the platform trying to connect with you!
These are some of the new schemes that you need to be wary of on Facebook:
The regular Filipina dating scams have evolved into something far more serious. Criminals have started to contact mainly men from the United States through Facebook. Their first approach is as a Filipina lady who is looking for friendship and eventually a new romantic relationship. Once the first introduction is done, they ask the victim to move to a chat, where they can talk and see each other. Chatting will eventually take some people to sharing sexual content that is then used by the scammers as the material for extortion. Never share too much information online, and by having a sex chat or adult chat or web cam session, you are putting yourself at high risk for blackmail.
Criminals have blackmailed people (especially women) about making public their nude pictures or sexual videos. In November 2013 a 10 year old Filipina girl named Sweetie was all over the news. She was no regular child, she was a virtual character created to catch pedophiles online. The results of this project were extraordinary, many child sex abusers were identified, but criminals always know how to turn things around. Scammers are now contacting decent people –not pedophiles or criminals-, they lure them into sharing sexual content with whom so far is supposedly an adult Filipina lady, and then they claim to be from law enforcement and that the sexual content was shared with a minor. The victims are so afraid of being involved in something so serious, even though they didn´t really participate in an illegal thing, that they agree to send money or give out personal data.
It is yet another example, among millions, that when you are communicating with someone via the Internet, you don’t always know who you’re dealing with, and caution is advised.
Scammers not only want to hack into someone else´s account. Many people wish they would have access to their partner´s Facebook to make sure they are being faithful. Parents also wish they could see what their teenage children are doing. Some people are moved by curiosity, others by jealousy or by a sense of protection. The truth is that many people are tempted into the latest Facebook scam, that promises to give people the ability to hack into anyone’s account.
The scam appears in people’s timeline, shared by their own friends: “Hack any Facebook account following three steps” What happens then? Victims are instructed to open Facebook in a browser and insert a code line, which instead of giving access to the account you want to see it grants access to the scammers to your own account. So basically, people end up hacking their own account and making themselves more vulnerable to new scams. Once the scammers are in control of your account, they can use your account to post more of these fake instructions, or launch more cyber scams. Be very skeptical about what you click on, what site you visit, and what you install.
A new announcement of the National Bureau of Investigation in the Philippines alerts those who have seen in Facebook a new business opportunity. Scammers are now using Facebook ads to promote business models that are nothing but pyramid schemes. So far, 168 investors in the Philippines have filed complaint that they were duped out of their money by a company found on Facebook.
Investment is a delicate matter that needs to be cautiously reviewed before any decision is taken. When investing in the Philippines or any other place, contacting through Facebook is not enough. To be safe, due diligence is a must. Scammers change their ways, they use old methods and modify them or create new. Be skeptical about any online promise of business or love, and always verify!
If you’ve met someone on the Internet and need evidence, we can help.
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