Facebook has an estimated 13 million users in South Africa, according to the South African Social Media Landscape 2016 study, with 10 million of these users accessing the social media site on mobile devices.
As with any popular online service, the number of users on the platform makes it an attractive target for online scammers and fraudsters.
These criminals will try to take advantage of users through seemingly innocent requests or suggestions – which can lead to their online security becoming compromised.
Below is a summary of Facebook scams you need to watch out for when on the social media platform.
What is your “porn name” scam
The porn name scam involves a post on Facebook encouraging you to discover what your name would be if you were an adult actor or actress.
It asks users to find their porn moniker by combining the name of their first pet, the street they grew up on, and their mother’s maiden name. Once you have the name, you are encouraged to share it on Facebook.
Your first pet’s name, the name of the street where you grew up, and you mother’s maiden name are all common security questions used to recover forgotten online account information, or access password reset options.
Revealing this information could result in scammers using it to access your online accounts.
Free giveaway scam
The free giveaway scam on Facebook encourages users to share a prize giveaway post in order to stand a chance to win whatever is on offer.
The post will state an iPhone 6s is up for grabs, for example, and instructs you to share it on your timeline. Once you have shared it, it will ask you to take part in a quick survey.
This can lead to you handing over sensitive information, while accessing external links in the post could lead to malicious software being downloaded onto your PC.
Always check the purported company’s official website to see if any giveaway posted on Facebook is legitimate.
Custom profile scam
Custom profiles on Facebook sound like an attractive option, and scammers use this to trick users into downloading malicious software onto their PCs.
The scam involves users being promised custom colours for their Facebook profile page, which requires the installation of a “Facebook application”.
This app is a malicious file, and can potentially give the scammer access to your PC and the sensitive information on it.
Who viewed your profile scam
This is one of the older Facebook scams out there.
Scammers promise users an application or plugin that will let them see who visits or views their Facebook profile, offering this functionality via a free download or link.
The app downloaded is malicious, and gives scammers access to your PC.
Facebook has stated there is no way for users to see who has viewed their profile.