Facebook users beware: If you get an email claiming that your account will be disabled for violating the social media website’s terms, it’s a scam.
The Better Business Bureau has received reports for this new phishing scam that aims to steal Facebook users’ login credentials. Here’s what you need to know about this scheme and how to avoid it.
How the Facebook phishing scam works
Phishing is one of the most common types of Internet crimes. It involves emails that appear to come from legitimate companies, organizations or government agencies and aim to get recipients to share personal or account information.
According to BBB, scammers are sending emails that appear to come from Facebook. The emails tell recipients that they have breached Facebook Community Standards and, as a result, their Facebook page has been disabled. Recipients are prompted to click on a link to request a review and file an appeal if they believe they haven’t violated Facebook terms. Some of these emails also warn recipients that they have to act within 24 hours to avoid having their account deleted.
The link goes to a page with a form to appeal an alleged Facebook policy violation, according to BBB. It will ask for Facebook login credentials and other personal information, such as name and phone number. With that information, scammers can hack into accounts. Then, they can use those accounts to send spam or harassing messages.
Signs of Facebook phishing scams
On first glance, these emails appear to come from Facebook. However, there are red flags that they are scams.
- Wrong email sender address: The sender might appear to be Facebook. However, if you open the email, you should be able to see the email address of the sender. According to Facebook, emails about users’ accounts come from fb.com, facebook.com or facebookmail.com. So if you get an email from an address such as firstname.lastname@example.org, it’s a scam.
- Typos, poor spelling and grammatical mistakes in the body of an email are a common sign that the email you have received is a scam.
- Suspicious links: If you hover your mouse cursor over the link without clicking on it, you should be able to see the web address. In a scam email, the link will direct you to a fraudulent website, not Facebook’s site.
- A sense of urgency: Scam emails and messages typically warn of a problem or issue that must be addressed immediately. Facebook cautions not to trust messages that demand money, offer gifts or threaten to delete or ban your account.
How to avoid Facebook phishing scams
Take these steps to reduce the risk that you’ll become a victim of a Facebook phishing scam or similar scam.
Don’t respond to emails that ask for your Facebook password, Social Security number, personal information or credit card number. Facebook does send warnings to users who violate its Community Standards, but it won’t ask in an email for your password or other personal information.
Don’t click on any links or attachments in emails or text messages that appear to come from Facebook. If the message claims that there is a problem with your account, log directly into your Facebook account rather than clicking on any links in emails or text messages. Those links could take you to a fake site that will steal your personal information.
Don’t share your login credentials in emails, text messages or even direct messages you receive through Facebook Messenger.You shouldn’t enter your password on any site other than Facebook.com or the Facebook app. If you do, change your password immediately to prevent hackers from taking over your account.
Sign up for alerts to be notified by Facebook when someone attempts to log into your account from a device or web browser you don’t normally use. You can do this by going to your Facebook Security and Login Settings and selecting “Get alerts about unrecognized logins.”
If you receive a message that appears to be a scam, report it to Facebook at email@example.com. If you believe that someone has gained unauthorized access to your account, the Carefull safe money monitoring service has a Hack Recovery tool that can walk you through the steps to take to limit the damage.