Social Scams

It was the best of posts, it was the worst of posts. My apologies to Charles Dickens, but it seems to be the best way to describe two themes I see on Facebook wall posts these days. Let me show you some of the worst ones first:

Yes; these are scams. Posted as legitimate messaging on Facebook user’s walls by bad guys. Blaming Facebook for scams is a little like blaming Al Gore for malware on the Internet. Even if Mr. Gore did invent the Internet, he certainly didn’t invite all those malware authors to join up. I addressed the attraction of Facebook to bad guys some time ago. Here’s the short version: malware authors target people, not computers. Lots of people are on Facebook; malware authors follow.

It all seems like bad news, doesn’t it? But it’s not. Here are some of the best posts I see:

These are users who have figured it out and are warning others. This is social sharing at its finest. I’ve talked about this before, in relation to the London Traveler scam.

We need to keep doing this. All of us. If our neighborhood was overrun with common criminals we’d certainly expect the police to do something. But we wouldn’t sit there and do nothing ourselves. We’d make sure our windows were locked, we’d warn our neighbors, and we’d call the police if we saw something suspicious going on in the neighborhood.

We’ve made Facebook our neighborhood. And we can’t expect Facebook alone to solve these problems. We all need to do our part. Keep your security up to date. Tell Facebook when you see a scam. Educate yourself—educate others.

We just published a new paper in association with Facebook. It’s a great overview of some of the scams and spam you’ll see on Facebook. And it’s got recommendations for avoiding scams and steps to take to clean up if you’ve been hit with one.

Welcome to the neighborhood.