Facebook users warned against "phishing" scams

August 4, 2010 3:54:01 PM PDT
Facebook and other social networking sites are massively popular among North Carolinians. But the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern North Carolina is warning users about the latest "phishing" scams hooking users.

The BBB warns parents that while millions of Facebook's young users are computer savvy, they are not necessarily aware of the dangers phishing attempts pose to their safety online. Children should be taught about scams and the threat of identity theft.

Links to scams can be disguised with sensational information and often come from Facebook friends, the BBB warns.

"Sit with kids and talk about what's appropriate and what's not," President and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina Beverly Baskin said. "As kids see it and think I want to see this awful video but a course it's a come on and don't know what's waiting for them on the other end."

Some scams ask for personal information and users are warned not to give that information unless they can verify that the site is secure and encrypted. Knowing how that information will be used is also vital.

"Phishing scams are designed to lure personal and financial information from unsuspecting victims, and can lead to identity theft," Baskin said. "By targeting Facebook users with phishing attempts, scammers can reach a large group with the potential to steal information from more than 500 million users on one site."

Brand names such as Subway, Starbucks, McDonalds and Coca Cola are being used to lure users away from Facebook and on to other sites.

One scam instructs users to click that they "LIKE" a link in order to get a free Subway gift card.

Users are directed to another website where they are asked for personal information like credit card numbers.

BBB investigated and reports Subway says this is a scam and is not affiliated with any Subway promotion.

The Starbucks brand name has also been used in a similar scam.

It turns out that even your Facebook friends can unwittingly assist scammers.

Status updates like "I am part of the 98.0% of people that are NEVER gonna drink Coca Cola again after this HORRIFIC video," and "OMG!! McDonald's might soon shut down because of this! Warning: Your jaw will drop to the floor!" include links that take users away from Facebook's web site.

In addition to asking for private information, users are put at risk of their computers being infected with spyware, malware and other virus that can steal personal information for their hard drive.

For more information and tips about Facebook phishing attempts, visit the Better Business Bureau online.


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