Facebook “Verified Page” Scam Alert

If you still don’t have a Facebook account, it’s hard to say what you’ve been doing with your life so far. The humongous social networking website has grown into something far bigger than just a medium to broadcast your feelings to the world. It’s now a platform for business, education, interaction, news, and… cybercrime. You clearly didn’t expect that to come up on our list, did you? But this is exactly what we need to talk about in this entry. New Facebook scams spring to life almost every day, and we have to draw your attention to that.

The new Facebook account scam

Although there are multiple Facebook scams out there, this time, we would like to focus on the scam that tends to attack verified accounts. What is a verified account? Well, have you ever seen a blue badge next to an account name? Those blue ticks are pretty common on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and they indicate that the account has been “verified.”

What does it mean if the account is verified? According to Facebook’s Help page, the blue badge allows people to know that the page or the account is authentic. The account gets a blue badge if it meets a number of requirements. For instance, if the account is complete and the public is interested in it, it might get verified. Thus, the badge is important if certain individuals or accounts rely on credibility to build their following or readership. And if suddenly the badge were to disappear, that would cause a lot of confusion for the account owners and its followers.

So, imagine that: you have continuously worked hard to get your account verified, but then suddenly, one day, the verification badge is gone! And what are you supposed to do about it? Contact Facebook, of course. Don’t you ever expect Facebook to contact you first about this. Because if it seems that the Facebook customer service has contacted you, it’s probably the most recent Facebook account scam.

In fact, it is very likely that your verified account could receive these deceitful messages even if you don’t lose your verification badge. After all, if this Facebook scam message pops up on your screen, there is a good chance that you go straight to the message instead of checking your account’s status.

The screen capture of the fake phishing messages was posted by Matt Navarra on Twitter. Matt Navarra is a social media industry commentator and consultant, and his tweet became a basis for other reports about the new scam.

So, what do the Facebook scam messages say exactly? The messages say that you are contacted by someone from the “Facebook Team,” and that your verification badge has been removed for 24 hours. If you want to get your badge back, you need to click the given link to confirm your identity. Luckily, not that many users have fallen for this scam, and we can see why. The messages have poor grammar and style, and it is very unlikely that anyone would contact a verified account like that. In other words, this Facebook account scam is a bullet that is easy to dodge. But what about other types of Facebook scams? Is there an easy way to spot them and avoid them?

How to avoid a Facebook scam

We have actually covered the basics of Facebook scams in our recent post here. However, to reiterate, we can go through the main steps again. So let’s cut things down to the chase.

Friend requests

Be really careful about the friend requests you receive. Do you really know that person? Is it a friend of a friend or a total stranger? At least check the profile before accepting the friend request, and if you don’t know the person, don’t feel bad at all about deleting the request immediately. For all its worth, you might be saving yourself the trouble of dealing with a potential phishing scam.

Unfamiliar links

Just like in this recent Facebook account scam, users often receive messages with embedded links. We are so used to clicking links these days that we seldom think twice before doing so. However, we should definitely be careful if the links come with really random messages. What’s more, if the suspicious link comes from a friend’s account, you might want to inform them that their profiles have been hacked. They definitely need to renew their passwords, and you could recommend them doing it with a reliable password manager.

Gift and prize messages

Facebook scammers often try to push unsuspecting users into spending their money on something that never lives up to its promises. For example, if you think that you have received a gift coupon, and the message says that you have to pay for it first, that’s your first alarm bell! Why would you need to pay for it if it’s a gift?

Likewise, if you receive a message that says you have won some prize, don’t be so hasty about clicking the link that urges you to claim that prize. Think about it, have you really entered any kind of raffle lately? Do you often join lotteries? Didn’t that message come out of the blue? Rather than clicking the message, you would do yourself a favor by reporting it to Facebook.

So, what conclusions can we draw from this? For the most part, it is probably obvious that we can enjoy a long and safe ride in one of the biggest social networking platforms on the planet if we are careful and attentive.

Let’s not take anything for granted. Every single message should be screened carefully, especially if it comes from someone you don’t know. And consider this: even if your friend did send you that link, there’s no harm in double-checking that. It’s a lot better to be safe than sorry. No one wants their money or identity stolen, so if you intend to stay safe, you should definitely do everything you can to avoid Facebook scams.

November 18, 2019

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