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Be Careful What You 'Like' as More Facebook Scams Emerge

Over the past few weeks, you may well have noticed various pages popping up on Facebook claiming to be promoting a UK tour of the Total Wipeout obstacle course made famous in the series presented by Richard Hammond. The pages contained very little detail about the supposed events and required you to provide personal details such as your name, date of birth and contact details in order to receive further information.

Although the pages should have flagged suspicion from the offset, the public's desire to see a Total Wipeout Tour become reality somewhat blinded them to the obvious fact that these pages were little more than scams, which seems to have been confirmed by the disappearance of most of the associated Facebook pages.

The only thing that remains unclear is the overall aim of this particular scam. As the pages directed you to enter personal information on an external website, many have proposed that the tour was simply an exercise in data collection, which will then be sold on to third party scammers, spammers and advertisers.

The other possibility is that the creators were simply trying to make a profit out of the page itself. As Facebook have made it increasingly difficult to grow a fan page without investing in on-site advertising, a trend has emerged whereby people will grow a page using a popular brand, event or concept, only to sell the page, along with its follower count, to another individual who simply re-titles the page to fit his own project. Hey presto, they've got a few thousand likes from the offset.

Whatever the motivation, I wouldn't expect to see a genuine Total Wipeout Tour pop up any time soon and if one seems to, approach it with caution. However, the internet is full of shady individuals and as such this is not the only scam currently circulating on Facebook.

In another recent wave of scams, even liking a seemingly innocent post could cause untold trouble as fraudsters utilise Facebook's 'edit post' function to push malicious content and costly hoaxes to a mass audience. They do this by posting something innocent with viral potential, with media such as cat videos proving a popular choice, in order to gather a high number of likes, thereby pushing their content higher up people's news feeds. Once the post has gathered enough attention, they re-purpose the post to send visitors through a paywall that then steals financial information.

The reason why this form of scam is often successful boils down to trust. Websites that may seem suspicious normally become more trusted when they are shared and liked by thousands of people across social platforms. You drop into a false sense of security, believing that if it were a scam, one of those thousands would surely have flagged it. The truth is, many will never even notice that the post they liked so long ago has changed.

Unfortunately, there is no sure-fire way to protect yourself from all the scams continually surfacing on Facebook. I would simply urge caution and a healthy serving of skepticism when it comes to Facebook promotions. It may be an old cliche, but if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Be Careful What You 'Like' as More Facebook Scams Emerge Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, March 10, 2016 Rating: 5

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