Facebook has changed the way a lot of people view and interact with the world. Your BBB®, like millions of you, has a Facebook page. We like and share content from others as well as produce our own content, similar to this blog, to help educate consumers on common scams amongst other things. BBB wants to remind consumers to like and share with caution as scammers are taking advantage of this social platform and our reflex to like or share content quickly using a tactic called “like-farming.”
Like-Farmers create a Facebook page to lure people into liking or sharing the page. Once the page creators have piled up hundreds of likes and shares, they may strip the page and promote something else, such as products that they will receive commissions for selling. They may also sell the page and information that was collected from the “likes” with a more direct threat of gaining access in an attempt to gather credit card numbers that may be stored for certain Facebook apps, passwords or other personal information.
So what posts should you be cautious about? An article from USA Today gives the following examples.
- Posts with an emotional appeal. For example, posts showing rescue animals and asking you to like if you think they are cute or a medical story that asks you to like that the person was cured or as a way to tell the person they are still beautiful after surgery. Basically, any post that may pull at your heart-strings, unless you know the person who posted it, it could be like-farming.
- Posts that ask you to like or share to win a cool prize or trip. We have seen posts impersonating airlines and amusement parks offering “free trips” to one person who likes and shares the post. You may also have seen the posts during the big lottery frenzy recently that offered to share any winnings with those who liked and/or shared the post.
- Brain-teaser posts. These posts as you to like and/or share if you can solve the tricky math question or can read something upside down.
How can you avoid like-farming?
In general, don’t like or share out of reflex. Use caution. Avoid those posts where you feel any pressure to like or share something, and look closely at where the post is coming from. Was it from a friend, a family member, a business? It is good to know for sure.
Keep in mind, when the post offers a prize or trip for liking or sharing, scammers may use the name of well-known business; however, they tend to alter it slightly. They may do this by shortening the business name, misspelling it slightly or adding a punctuation mark to the end of it.
Finally, if you feel a post could potentially be from a like-farmer, report it to Facebook directly.
For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/Evansville.