Staying Safe on FaceBook
It may seem odd, but FaceBook is one of the most dangerous sites on the web in terms of being defrauded or ripped-off. The majority of people are concerned about hate and abuse online, but the loss of your savings can actually have a much more serious and long-lasting effect on you and your household than any amount of mental abuse. Money is an important part of modern life, even if it is a terrible thing. FaceBook is one of the most dangerous sites online when it comes to being defrauded by untraceable, dangerous criminals, and they pop-up right in the middle of your feed on FaceBook Ads, and no one seems to care.
Staying Safe Elsewhere
OK sure, it is not just FaceBook, it is Instagram, who are FaceBook anyway, and Twitter. All of whom seem to take money from these fraudulent sites. Just today alone on Facebook and Instagram we have seen fake news sites pretending to be from:
- Alphabet (Google/Youtube)
- The Mirror Newspaper
- Elon Musk
Just today, in the last hour of looking around.
Every one of these fake news sites is a fraud and any money you send them, you will never see again. They will also hound you relentlessly for more money and sell your details to anyone who will pay for them.
Are There Obvious Signs to Lookout For?
Well this is a good place to start, and we will go through a few examples of what to look out for in terms of signs of fraud, or just signs that they are not who they claim to be.
Are they from the real domain that they claim to represent?
If we look at this Elon Musk / Tesla ad pair, we can see the domains are completely unconnected to Tesla or Elon Musk
In fact they are not just irrelevant, they are complete nonsense. Inaneness.com is most definitely a scam.
In general anything that is advertising a domain ending in .xyz is suspect. The domains ending in .io are often dangerous too.
Elon Musk does not need to advertise - most of America lives and dies by his twitter feed and it is re-tweeted across the world moments later (although why you wouldn't just follow him instead of his followers..) and so he does not advertise Tesla or himself on FaceBook as any new project is seized upon by most of California before they even understand what it actually means. Any adverts from massive companies or celebrities like this are likely to be fake as they spend most of their time trying to avoid media exposure rather than paying for it.
What Steps Can I Take To Protect My Family?
Knowledge is the most important thing. You have to make sure that everyone in the household is aware of how scammers work and what they want. In general, young people with a bank account and a mobile phone are their favourite targets as they are easily spun into an excited frenzy whereupon they will give out their personal and banking details. You have to mitigate this risk by explaining to them that these scams tend to be adverts such as the above. That they are sponsored content which means they have no basis in truth. Any advert with a celebrity or a entrepreneur is unlikely to be trustworthy as the celebrity is ricking their brand/image on the strength of a single profit, which no one would do. Why would you risk your whole career on one campaign?
How Can I Ensure Safety?
Go to proper providers. If you son or daughter has been beguiled into stock market trading or other investment, or selling on Amazon or whatever, find a reputable site that ranks on organic searches and has good reviews by real people. Anything reviewed by someone who has only ever left one review but has a profile photo on Trustpilot is a scam. No one adds a photo to make one review. You make your first review when you have absolutely adored something or hated it. Neither of this emotions make you think you need a profile picture. Trust nothing on trustpilot unless you know of it independently and make sure it does not have multiple websites for the same product as this is a sure sign of fraud.
There are many magazines online that are not real and just pick and chose newsfeeds to promote scams. Even sites like APNews have scammer adverts inserted nowadays. Stick to the Economist and Financial Times for advice and do not use ads as a guide for anything. If it is sponsored content then it has often not been vetted by the publications and therefore can be dangerous and because it is sponsored, it is not necessarily the responsibility of the publication. Online sites are not subject to the same regulation as papers produced and disseminated within your own nation.
The Internet is dangerous because no one can police it.
Can I Make a Complaint?
Yes, report every FaceBook ad that looks suspicious until they start implementing measures to stop these scams. They are everywhere at the moment and it has to stop.
Check how to report sponsored content on FaceBook
Can I Inform The Police
Yes, but they are unlikely to be able to do anything. ActionFraud and the SFO have no power over these international websites as they are often hosted behind masking sites and content providers and their ownership details are protected. The legality of the process is also spread between different nations, many of which are under different political systems, which makes interaction with Europe or the US slow and difficult. They have been scamming people a long time and know all of the tricks. The police will not be able to trace cryptocurrency and have no control over what sites you are exposed to and so cannot really be expected to police them.
Who is to Blame for this?
The advertising platforms are, in our opinion, the people who have to start making changes. If you allow FaceBook to show ads that have never been verified by a human then no one is safe online. Every advert has to be vetted by an individual and checked against strict guidelines to ensure it is truthful, honest, safe and representative of the likely outcomes of purchase, training or investment.
Everyone is responsible for their own experiences in life and even though people are defrauded by their own families or friends, most people are defrauded by strangers that get their confidence, confidence tricksters or con-artists. This is why everyone needs to be prepared before they embark online. FaceBook has become a very dangerous site, not just in terms of developing dependency from the young, but encouraging association of those that cannot be trusted. In our opinion FaceBook is one of the most dangerous places young people can be, and action needs to be enforced fast.