Facebook and other social media may be a great place to share photos and experiences with friends. However, Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to be careful with IQ tests, quizzes and other content designed to get you to click on links or provide personal information.
Many of these Facebook applications, or apps, fall under “clickbait” scams, and the apps can do more damage than cluttering up your Facebook feed. Some of them contain viruses that can damage your computer, while others are phishing scams that attempt to steal sensitive personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers.
“Almost everyone wants to test their skills in a short quiz, but it’s smart to be skeptical if a post promises you something free that normally would cost money, such as an IQ test, a free credit score or ‘exclusive’ pictures of celebrities,” said Michelle L. Corey, BBB president and CEO. “BBB advises consumers to be careful where they click.”
One of the IQ test apps asks you for a cell phone number before you can obtain the results. If you enter your number, you may begin to receive junk texts on your cell phone and a monthly charge of $9.99 or more could appear on your cell phone bill. If the app itself isn’t malicious, banner ads that appear alongside the ad could lead to unwanted email or worse.
BBB advises consumers to be careful when clicking on posts promising you salacious pictures or video of celebrities, quizzes or content that prompts you to click with a headline such as, “you won’t believe what happens when….” While some of these are merely marketing messages from reputable companies, others aim to steal your information or take other malicious actions.
BBB offers the following tips to protect yourself from social media scams:
Don’t take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” pictures or video. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.
Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.
Confirm before you trust your “friends” online. It might not actually be your friends who are “liking” or sharing scam links to photos, quizzes or games. Their account may have been hacked and scammers could be using another tactic called “clickjacking”. Clickjacking is a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking on social media links that you would not usually click on.
Report scam posts on Facebook by following these instructions.
Report malware or spam on Twitter by following these instructions.