TYLER - Facebook users now reach almost 700 million, creating a virtual playground for scammers to target unsuspecting users. BBB is warning East Texas consumers that Facebook friends could actually be hackers impersonating family and friends to cheat you out of your money.
“All too often we read about some new hacking scheme or spam attack striking Facebook users”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “While the social network constantly works to strengthen its’ security features, it's still important to know what to do in case your account is compromised.”
Tips for recovering from Facebook scams and hacks:
Change Your Password -If you have fallen victim to a phishing scheme or hack attack, it's likely that someone else has obtained your password and is using it to access your account. Go to your Account Settings and change your login credentials immediately. Change your password every six months and don't reuse passwords on different accounts. Remember, the more complex the password, the safer you'll be.
Enable Log in Approvals - One of Facebook's new security features will implement a two-step login process the first time your account is accessed from an unfamiliar device. If you enable this feature, Facebook will send a verification text to your mobile device before allowing access from the new location.
Clean Out Your Apps –Resist downloading apps which "allow" access to your profile. Spammers often use this open door to take over your profile. If you fell for a rogue app and mistakenly clicked "Allow," or if you notice excessive activity on your account, you should edit your list of apps and remove any suspicious ones.
Delete Spam Messages and Alerts -As soon as you can, delete spam posts from your wall and Facebook inbox. The fewer there are, the less likely you or your friends will be to click on them.
Edit Your Interests - If you were tricked into "Liking" a scam, you'll need to edit your interests on your profile and remove any links to spam sites you may have acquired.
Notify Facebook - If you suspect your account has been compromised, alert Facebook. To report privacy breaches, direct reports to firstname.lastname@example.org. If a scammer gained access to your account password via phishing attack, fill out Facebook's phishing report.
Scan Your Computer for Malware- It’s a good practice to manually scan your computer hard drive for malicious software on a regular basis.
Immediately End the Facebook Session - If you believe that someone has taken control of your profile and is in the process of spamming your friends, log out of Facebook to stop the attack.
BBB Offers advice for staying safe on social networking sites:
1. If a “friend” or “family” member is asking you to wire money, users should attempt to contact their friend outside of the social networking site to confirm the situation.
2. Make sure your computer’s operating system and antivirus and firewall software are up to date.
3. Keep private information private.
4. Remember, never pay to win a legitimate prize.
5. Be selective when choosing friends.
For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.