Facebook has long been fertile ground for scammers and identity thieves and there is a good reason for this. The sheer number of people on Facebook provides a great opportunity for scammers and identity thieves. The high level of trust that people have for communications they receive on their Facebook page is another reason Facebook has become such a prominent place for scams and identity theft schemes. It is important to remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.” The most recent Facebook scam follows a familiar pattern. You receive a message telling you that you have been tagged in a Facebook post. When you go to Facebook and click on the link, you are then directed to a Website that prompts you to download either a browser extension or a plug-in in order to be able to watch a video that is alleged to pertain to you. Unfortunately, what you actually are downloading is not a browser extension or a plug-in, but keystroke logging malware, sometimes called a Trojan Horse,that enables the identity thief who planted it to steal all of the information from your computer including your Social Security number, passwords, credit card information, bank account information and more. He or she then uses that information to make you a victim of identity theft and make your life miserable. According to security researcher Carlo De Micheli, this scam has been spreading at a rate of about 40,000 attacks every hour.
Never click on links or download attachments unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate and secure. Even if the link or download appears in a Facebook message or email that appears to come from a friend of yours, you can’t be sure that either your friend’s account had been hacked or that your friend, unwittingly, is passing on tainted material. Also, make sure that all of your electronic devices, including your computer, smartphone and tablets are protected with security software including anti-malware software and that you keep your security software constantly updated.