How to Recognize and Protect Yourself Against the 2018 Facebook Friend Request Scam

Lately, there have been talks about a new threat to Facebook users also known as 2018 Facebook friend request scam. It is said some cybercriminals are copying users’ accounts to send friend requests to their contacts. Also, those spreading the word about the Facebook friend request scam claim the account gets hacked if the user accepts the fake request. The news about this is spreading through the social media itself as users are sharing messages describing the scam on their walls. In this blog post, we will shed some light on the matter, so if you want to know more about the so-called Facebook friend request scam or how to protect your account against such threats you should continue reading our article.

Are the rumors about 2018 Facebook friend request scam true?

The short answer would be no as specialists report there is no Facebook friend request scam. The only reason why people believe it is because someone started distributing messages saying the scam is extremely dangerous. Obviously, some people fell for it and started sharing the warning thinking they will help spread awareness and as a result protect others from losing their accounts to scammers. Sadly, instead, they created unnecessary panic.

The truth is that even if someone sent you a friend request, accepting it would not enable the person to hack your account. The scammer could see your activity same as other Facebook friends, but that is all. At this point, you may wonder why would anyone spread rumors about a fake threat and scare other users. It is most likely, the ones behind it are trying to tarnish the remaining bits of Facebook reputation. It is not a secret the company is losing its users’ trust because of occurring data breaches. Thus, the fake 2018 Facebook friend request scam was probably created to speed up the process.

How to recognize Facebook scams?

While 2018 Facebook friend request scam may not exist there are plenty of real Facebook scams, and it is quite likely there will be even more of them in the future. No doubt, if you are using this social media, it would be smart to be prepared just in case cybercriminals target your account the next time.

Probably, the most popular tactic is convincing the user to submit his personal information in exchange for services or rewards. For example, the scammers could display messages saying clicking the link provided on it would show who has viewed the user’s profile or blocked him on Facebook, but before revealing the list, it could ask to submit some private data. Therefore, being asked to provide any sensitive or personal information should always raise suspicion.

Moreover, some cybercriminals send their victims' emails with links to fake news. Since the success of the attack depends on getting the user so curious he would lose his guard, the story and the images illustrating it could be shocking. Unfortunately, when the user clicks the link, he might unknowingly start downloading malicious tools, which is why you should never impulsively click on any links from unknown sources.

Other email or phishing scams may send messages claiming the user’s account has been hacked or canceled. By doing so, the hacker might try to convince the user to provide his sensitive information to recover or protect the account. Before you start panicking or doing what the fake email asks, you should look for signs of fraud. For starters, you could check the sender’s email address and determine whether it belongs to Facebook. To be one hundred percent sure, you can use Facebook Help Community to learn more.

Lastly, one of the threats you should watch out for this year is the so-called Facebook Dislike scam. As you might have heard, social media may have a dislike button in the future, and it is already being tested in some countries. Some cybercriminals are trying to trick users who are waiting for this feature that they can now enable the Dislike button by clicking the link sent to them via email. If the user does so he might infect his system with malicious software, so users ought to be careful. If such a button is added to Facebook, it will be introduced on the social media, and users will not need to enable or order it.

How to protect yourself from Facebook scams?

First of all, you should have a strong, unique password that hackers could not guess even if they gain personal information about you. In other words, your password should not contain any personal information, for example, your name, location, or even pet’s name.

Next, you should look out for suspicious messages and emails offering something in exchange for your sensitive data or asking to click links. Whenever you receive such a request, you should verify whether the sender is trustworthy. Always keep in mind that cybercriminals can copy the style or looks of legitimate web pages, so you have to check all details very carefully to find any clues of fraud. For more information and tips on email scams and other phishing techniques, you should continue reading here.

What’s more, even though it might be impossible for someone to take over your account just because you expected a friend request like the people spreading rumors about the false 2018 Facebook friend request scam claim, it is still not a good idea to accept people you do not know. As we mentioned earlier, this would allow them to view your profile and collect various personal data, which later could be used to scam you.

Finally, it is important not to share too much on your Facebook account, so if someone manages to view your profile, that person would not be able to collect any valuable data to use against you. Also, Facebook offers various security features you should enable if you have not done it already, for example, Two-Factor authentication, alerts about unrecognized logins, or restoring account with the help of your trusted contacts.

In conclusion, it might not be easy to recognize scams, especially if you have never encountered one. Many people cannot imagine something happening to them until it does. What you always need to remember is one simple rule: if it sounds too simple or too good to be true, it is probably a scam. Thus, no matter how tempting the offer is, do not let your curiosity or the thought it cannot happen to you cloud your judgment.

October 22, 2018

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