I spend more time than I’d like to admit on Facebook. Hell, I’m on it right now. It’s supposed to be a way for people to connect with one another without having to, you know, actually do things in real life. It’s also used for something else – scams. Scammers have targeted the seemingly endless horde of gullible people on Facebook tricking them into believing just about anything. These are five of the dumbest Facebook scams that I’ve seen (and you’ve probably seen too.)
#5 – Change Your Facebook Color
We all get tired of looking at the same blue and white Facebook layout. Changing it sounds like a great idea, but the reality is – you can’t. That doesn’t stop countless Facebook users from falling for this scam though. They see a post that reads, “Change Your Facebook Color” with images of Facebook layouts that actually have different colors and think that they are finally going to ditch that boring ass layout they’ve had for years. Well, they’re wrong.
They never got to change the color of their Facebook page, but 45,000+ users did get a crash course in key logging. When users clicked the link in the post, they unwilling allowed a key logger access to their computer, recording their key strokes and taking their usernames and passwords.
#4 – See Who Viewed Your Profile
A lot of people want to know who, if anybody, is creeping on their Facebook page. They want to know who is reading their statuses or lurking through every photo in your albums. When a post started showing up offering users a chance to find out who these mystery people were, curious Facebook users jumped all over it.
They quickly found out that this was a scam – or at least they should have. Once someone clicked one of these links they were directed to sites full of spam surveys, offers to buy expensive SMS or online services or sites asking for personal information. I wonder how many people gave these spammers what they wanted and then asked, “Now where the hell is my app?”
#3 – Facebook Is Going to Start Charging Starting [insert date here]…
This scam started popping up soon after Facebook went public. It had become a publicly traded company that people could now buy stock in. It seemed that Facebook had sold out. It seemed like perfect weather for scammers to take advantage of gullible people.
And they did.
Posts started popping up all over my newsfeed from people saying that they were outraged that Facebook was now going to start charging them membership fees. Some were even going as far as to say that they were going to delete their accounts. Most liked or joined online protest groups to fight the evil greed of Mark Zuckerberg.
This scam didn’t try to steal your personal information or give you a virus. All it wanted to do was make you look like an idiot. Facebook has stated several times that they have no plans on ever implementing a membership fee to users.
#2 – Win a FREE [insert thing you want here]!
Who doesn’t like free shit? I know I do. That said, a lot of people feel the same way I do. Scammers used our desire to get something for nothing and came up with one of the biggest Facebook frauds ever.
Countless pictures are shared on my newsfeed all the time by my friends claiming that if they “like” or “share” a picture that they would be entered into a giveaway to win some prize. I’ve seen this a lot more recently during the “console wars” between Playstation 4 and X-Box One. Friends would share “Win a free PS4!” or “Win a free X-Box One!” pictures on the off chance that a) this may be a real thing or b) that they may actually win. What they don’t know is that they were never going to win those game systems.
The point of this scam is to drive up the number of likes to the “giveaway” pages. After the number is high enough, scammers can trick Facebook users with future scams, just like the console giveaways. Another popular activity for scammers is to sell these pages later on to other scammers. So when you fall for something like this, you’re helping someone make money who tricked you into thinking you had a chance at winning free shit.
#1 – Like This Photo to Save a Life
This is arguably the worst scam in Facebook history. Soliciting ‘likes’ from people who think that they are helping save someone’s life.
One instance that sticks out in my mind is the story of the baby with mermaid syndrome. The post had a picture of a doctor, holding a baby whose legs were fused together and text reading:
1 Like = 20$
1 comment = 50$
1 share = 100$
Like us if ur older than 10–> Like if your older than 10
First of all, no company in their right mind would do this. Companies donate money all the time to worthy causes helping the less fortunate, but none of them withhold donations unless they get Facebook activity. People who fell for this scam didn’t think of this. Instead, they thought they were doing something good for someone. They thought they could indirectly help make this little girl’s life better by doing what comes naturally for them – doing shit on Facebook.
The girl in the picture (which I’m not going to show you, because I’m not a piece of shit) is Milagros Cerron from Peru. She was born with sirenomelia (or mermaid syndrome). She has had operations to help correct her deformity, but she still has health issues. Scammers found a photo of her and used it to solicit activity from Facebook users, much like the giveaway scams.
Liking, commenting, and sharing photos like this don’t help people who are less fortunate. Instead, they put money in the pockets of frauds who use your activity to boost their Facebook page traffic so they can sell the page to sell to other scammers.
My advice? Don’t be taken in. If you see something on Facebook that you think is “too good to be true”, it probably is.