For scam artists, getting their victims to trust them is the first step in every scam, which is why you should always remember my motto, “trust me, you can’t trust anyone.” However, it is not unusual to trust your friends, family members or even celebrities, which is why scammers are posing as your friends, family members or celebrities on Facebook by either hacking into someone’s Facebook account and taking over the account or setting up a phony Facebook account in the name of someone you know and trust. The New York Times reported that it found 208 phony Facebook accounts pretending to be Mark Zuckerberg or Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. The scammers contact their intended victims through Facebook messenger appearing to be a trusted person and try to trick the person into falling for a variety of scams including the popular “I found your name as qualifying for free money from a government grant or other source, but you just need to send in a fee or provide personal information.” Of course there is no “free money” and if you pay the fee, you lose the money. If you provide your personal information, it will be used to make you a victim of identity theft.
The key to avoiding these types of scams is to always be skeptical of any offer of free money or requests for personal information.
As for Facebook, a strong password and security question can help increase your security on Facebook. Too often the personal information that is readily available about people on line is sufficient to answer the security question.  Regardless of how the account is hacked into, the result can bring an increased risk of identity theft to your real friends who may trust a message from you that contains a link with dangerous keystroke logging malware that can result in your real friend’s computer being infiltrated and all of the information on it stolen such as Social Security number, account passwords and credit card numbers that can result in identity theft.
Be careful what personal information you put on Facebook.  Always consider how that information can be used against you to make you a victim of identity theft.  When setting up a security question, pick an answer that is nonsensical to protect it from hackers, such as “Where did I go to High School?” with an answer of “blue.”  Finally and most importantly, never, and  I mean never, click on links in messages that you receive unless you are absolutely sure that they are legitimate.  Merely because a message appears to be from a friend does not mean that the friend actually sent it.  His or her account may have been hacked or they may even be passing on tainted material without knowing it.  Never click on a link until you are absolutely sure that it is legitimate.  Call your friend to confirm that the message was from them and confirm from where they got the link they are sending to make sure that it is legitimate.  It may seem paranoid, but even paranoids have enemies. Clicking on links sent by scammers or identity thieves can download a wide array of malware including ransomware and keystroke logging malware that can lead to your becoming a victim of identity theft.
If you are not a subscriber to and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”