Facebook, Twitter and other social media are a great way to keep up with friends, look into businesses and let friends and family away from home have a window into the user’s world.
But these social media outlets are also increasing becoming the focus of internet scams committed on businesses and individuals around Acadiana.
BBB sets standardsfor ethical business behavior and warns residents of scams.
As a result, BBB has recently received calls from both residents and businesses reporting scams where their Facebook page was hijacked, friend lists and contacts were stolen or duplicate sites were created to either run scams or generate contact lists for existing scams.
One resident even reported a scammer recreating his site with stolen contacts then contacting his friends and family in an attempt to scam them.
Another reported his site was hijacked, or taken over, by scammers, who then used the instant messenger feature to attempt to scam friends and family members.
Even a local business in Vermilion Parish reported a scammer created a duplicate of their real Facebook business page in order to scam their customers.
Worldwide, Facebook users now reach almost 700 million, creating a virtual playground for scammers to target unsuspecting users. BBB is warning Acadiana consumers that Facebook friends could actually be hackers impersonating family and friends to cheat you out of your money.
While the social network constantly works to strengthen its’ security features, it's still important to know what to do in case your account is compromised.
BBB offers the following tips for recovering from Facebook scams and hacks:
· Change Your Password -If you have fallen victim to a phishing scheme or hack attack, it's likely that someone else has obtained your password and is using it to access your account. Remember, the more complex the password, the safer you'll be.
· Clean Out Your Apps –Resist downloading apps which "allow" access to your profile. Spammers often use this open door to take over your profile. If you fell for a rogue app and mistakenly clicked "Allow," or if you notice excessive activity on your account, you should edit your list of apps and remove any suspicious ones.
· Delete Spam Messages and Alerts -As soon as you can, delete spam posts from your wall and Facebook inbox. The fewer there are, the less likely you or your friends will be to click on them.
· Notify Facebook - If you suspect your account has been compromised, alert Facebook. To report privacy breaches, direct reports to email@example.com. If a scammer gained access to your account password via phishing attack, fill out Facebook's phishing report.
· Scan Your Computer for Malware- It’s a good practice to manually scan your computer hard drive for malicious software on a regular basis.
· Immediately End the Facebook Session - If you believe that someone has taken control of your profile and is in the process of spamming your friends, log out of Facebook to stop the attack.
BBB Offers advice for staying safe on social networking sites:
· If a “friend” or “family” member is asking you to wire money, users should attempt to contact their friend outside of the social networking site to confirm the situation.
· Make sure your computer’s operating system and antivirus and firewall software are up to date.
· Keep private information private.
· Never pay to win a legitimate prize.
· Be selective when choosing friends.
BBB works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising,investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses. For more than 100 years, BBB has helped consumers make smarter buying decisions and is evolving to meet fast-changing marketplace needs.
BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St.Landry and Vermilion.