Facebook scams revealed: the five most common tricks used by cyber criminals

Scammers prey on a mixture of narcissism, curiosity and greed to trick you into clicking - even when you know you really shouldn't

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The Independent Tech

No matter how tech savvy you think you are, you’re still fair game to Facebook scammers - according to a new study into the five most successful scams on the social network.

Security firm Bitdefender looked at more than 850,000 scams over two years to conclude that the five most common “social e-threats” tend to work on peoples’ self-interest or curiosity, tempting them to click on suspicious links or download malware-infested software with a range of tricks.

The most common of these is perhaps the most relatable: Bitdefender claims that “Guess who viewed your profile?” scams account for nearly half (45.5 per cent) of bait material, adding that these promises are more affective because of “the lack of information regarding the features of social networks, as many users still believe there may be people gathering this data.”

The next most common scam (29.53 per cent) promises users increased functionality, again playing on their lack of know-how about Facebook’s capabilities while promising that them that by downloading this or that plug-in they’ll suddenly stand out from the ground.

Giveaway scams were the next most common (16.51 per cent), promising “gift offers, spectacular gains, and bargains” while the last two categories played more on curiosity, offering scandalous celebrity news (such as a “Taylor Swift Sex Tape”) or “atrocity videos” of murder and child abuse.

BitDefender claims that “a wide range of users” fall for Facebook scams, thanks to the wide range of “psychological triggers” that cyber-criminals take advantage of.

Their advice (apart from ‘don’t click’) is to keep computers secure with updates from the manufacturer and anti-virus providers – that way, even if you do suddenly have the urge to find out if your ex still looks at your profile you’ll be kept safe. Apart from all the emotional damage, obviously.

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