Nobody will give you a free iPhone X for liking a Facebook page, so stop falling for these scams – BGR

I get it, the iPhone X is incredibly expensive at $999. And that’s just the starting price that gets you a measly 64GB of storage. But most buyers will not have to pay the price outright. There are plenty of financing option to help them deal with the wallet hit, including the iPhone Upgrade Program and various carrier offers.

But remember, iPhone fans, there’s no such thing as a free iPhone X. As a general rule of thumb, nothing in life is free. One way or another you’re going to pay for it. Falling for social scams that entice you to follow a Facebook page, YouTube channel or Instagram account, however, isn’t going to get you an iPhone X. Someone is taking advantage of you, and you won’t come away with a free phone.

There are many scammers out there looking to take advantage of the new iPhone release by promoting fake “free iPhone” offers. And the iPhone X could not be a better tool given that it’s the most expensive iPhone ever released.

According to ZeroFox, there are 532 fraudulent iPhone social accounts right now, and the number is going up.

What the purpose of these fake free iPhone offers on social media? The creators are looking to increase their follower counts. Some of the people looking to score a free iPhone X or iPhone 8 will follow, like, or share social content to have a chance of winning. However, the owners of these fraudulent social pages are only looking to quickly boost the number of followers, and then repurpose the page for something else.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

Other free iPhone offers will actually instruct users to share personal information that may be then used to steal a person’s identity.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

ZeroFox also says that free iPhones offers may also trick gullible users into clicking on malicious links and falling for phishing schemes. It goes without saying that you should never click on these links or install any apps if prompted to do so.

Remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

Oh, and while we’re at it, nobody is looking to ditch old iPhone stock, including Apple. One of the great things about the iPhone is that it’s a valuable device. Even older models retain their value, so nobody will “ditch” them.

That’s not to say there aren’t genuine iPhone promotions that offer free iPhone models. However, before trying your luck, make sure you’re dealing with a verified company rather than an impersonator or some random person. In many cases, there may be certain conditions that must be met to make you eligible to win a free iPhone. If you’ve been a sucker for one of these fake offers in the past, you might consider going through the entire ZeroFox article and sharing it with friends. You will not win a free iPhone X offer if you do, but there’s still plenty of value in helping people steer clear of scams.

Also, consider reporting the fake pages and websites to the appropriate companies. It’s effortless to do so if we’re talking about Facebook pages or other social media accounts.

Finally, remember, there is no such thing as a free iPhone X for a like, share, or follow!

Don’t let eclipse-related scams compromise safety

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. (CLARKSVILLENOW) – Big events draw crowds – and unscrupulous scammers looking to cash in at others’ expense. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is no exception.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ECLIPSE

As thousands of consumers make plans to view the eclipse at parties and other gatherings across the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Tennesseans to check the authenticity of the merchandise they purchase to watch the eclipse, including viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers.

RELATED NASA issues safety alert regarding eclipse glasses

TDCI shares the following consumer tips regarding the purchase of eclipse merchandise:

• Before ordering online, always do your research before entering any personal or payment information. Search for reviews, check that phone numbers and addresses are legitimate, and be sure it’s a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol or https:/ at the beginning of the web address.
• If you plan to attend a viewing party, ask if merchandise will be offered at the event.
• If you’re planning to order the glasses yourself, it’s important to ensure that the ones you choose are manufactured according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) guidelines. NASA has noted that the following manufactures have certified their glasses meet ISO 12312-2 international standards: Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
• The glasses should have the manufacturer’s name and address printed on the product.
• If you place an order online but never receive it, attempt to reach out to the business first and if the issue can’t be resolved, notify your bank or credit card company and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistance.gov or by phone at (877) 382-4357.
• Consider paying with credit card when making online purchases. Credit card companies provide more fraud protection than any other payment method.

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TDCI urges Tennesseans to follow these NASA guidelines to safely view the solar eclipse:

• Do not use homemade filters or substitute with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun.
• Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
• Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
• After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
• Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
• If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

For more consumer tips and resources, visit the TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer.

TDCI: Don’t let eclipse-related scams compromise safety

Department Encourages Consumers to Check Eclipse Glasses for Safety Certification
NASHILLE –Big events draw crowds – and unscrupulous scammers looking to cash in at others’ expense. The August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse is no exception. As thousands of consumers make plans to view the eclipse at parties and other gatherings across the Volunteer State, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Division of Consumer Affairs reminds Tennesseans to check the authenticity of the merchandise they purchase to watch the eclipse, including viewing glasses and handheld solar viewers.

TDCI shares the following consumer tips regarding the purchase of eclipse merchandise:

  • Before ordering online, always do your research before entering any personal or payment information. Search for reviews, check that phone numbers and addresses are legitimate, and be sure it’s a secure website. Look for the padlock symbol or https:/ at the beginning of the web address.
  • If you plan to attend a viewing party, ask if merchandise will be offered at the event.
  • If you’re planning to order the glasses yourself, it’s important to ensure that the ones you choose are manufactured according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) guidelines. NASA has noted that the following manufactures have certified their glasses meet ISO 12312-2 international standards: Baader Planetarium (AstroSolar Silver/Gold film only), Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optical and TSE 17.
  • The glasses should have the manufacturer’s name and address printed on the product.
  • If you place an order online but never receive it, attempt to reach out to the business first and if the issue can’t be resolved, notify your bank or credit card company and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistance.gov or by phone at (877) 382-4357.
  • Consider paying with credit card when making online purchases. Credit card companies provide more fraud protection than any other payment method.

 

TDCI urges Tennesseans to follow these NASA guidelines to safely view the solar eclipse:

 

  • Do not use homemade filters or substitute with ordinary sunglasses — not even very dark ones — because they are not safe for looking directly at the sun.
  • Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter. Always supervise children using solar filters.
  • Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun.
  • After glancing at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
  • Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device. Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing serious injury. Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device.
  • If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to glance at the remaining partial phases.

For more consumer tips and resources, visit the TDCI Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer.

NASCAR

Facebook scams: When your “friends” are actually hackers

Scams cost Americans roughly $50 billion each year, and according to the Better Business Bureau, they affect one in four homes. The most frequently reported scams are delivered by phone. But more than half of victims say they were contacted online through websites, e-mail, social media and more.

Experts say more and more people, including millennials, are becoming victims on Facebook. So what happens when a person you think is a Facebook “friend” turns out to be someone else?

For Shellie Drummond, it started when she found the Facebook profile for a friend from years back, named Deborah Boyd.

“I was on Messenger and my friend’s name came up,” she told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner.

facebook-scam-deborah-boyd-hacked-account.jpg

Deborah Boyd’s Facebook profile was hacked; the scam artists then targeted her friends.

CBS News

Soon “Boyd” was telling her about a so-called government grant she’d gotten through an agent on Facebook. Sure enough, the agent then told Drummond she could get financial assistance from the government. All she had to do was provide some personal information, then send $1,500 in fees, to get up to $100,000 in grant money.

“The person that I was corresponding with that I thought was my friend had vouched for this foundation, and I believed her,” said Drummond.

So she wired the $1,500 to Florida, then waited for the delivery driver (like the one shown on Facebook) to deliver her $100,000 in cash.

But they never came.

And when Drummond tracked down her friend by phone, Deborah Boyd told her, “It wasn’t me. You got scammed.”

Turns out, Boyd’s Facebook account had been hacked by scammers who locked her out, then quickly reached out to try to con her family and friends, who she then had to warn: “Please do not send them anything, and delete yourself off that page. Because it’s not me.”

“They’re basically capturing that trust you have in this person and using it for their own gain,” said Emma Fletcher of the Better Business Bureau.

So we wondered: were the scammers still active?

To find out, “CBS This Morning” set up our own fake account on Facebook, and contacted Boyd’s imposter. Sure enough, she claimed she got a $50,000 grant and said we could get one, too: it wasn’t a loan, and we wouldn’t have to pay it back.

“She’s not wasting any time,” Fletcher said.

Werner showed Fletcher the conversation that progressed. “Is that typical of what you see happening?” Werner asked.

“Well, once you show an interest, you know, they’re going to go in for the kill,” Fletcher replied.

And it wasn’t just the fake Deborah Boyd account: we found what appears to be a network of fake Facebook profiles offering grants, from $50,000 to $1,000,000 — all while assuring us it wasn’t a scam. “Swear to God,” one said.

facebook-scam-ctm-620.jpg

More people are falling victim to schemes by con artists who hack Facebook profiles of friends and family and try to rip you off.

CBS News

But those photos of the “agents”? A quick search using Google Images turned up the truth: the photos are real, but those people don’t offer grants. One is a real estate agent from Vermont. The other? A professor at MIT.

So if those aren’t the real people, who’s really running those Facebook accounts? 

Computer expert Gary Miliefsky set up a way to track the scammers’ location: he built a page that looks like a money transfer company’s website, but really finds a computer’s unique IP location.

“This website is an IP tracker,” Miliefsky said. “So when they click the link thinking they’re going to a popular money transfer site, they are allowing us to track them.”

We got the scammers to click on it, and lo and behold … the scammers are in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Russians use malware, the Chinese use malware. The Nigerians, they use social engineering and they use social media,” said Miliefsky.

But if we were able to track them, what about Facebook?

The company told us it has “a dedicated team … helping to detect and block these kinds of scams,” and has “developed several techniques” to stop the abuse. But Boyd told us Facebook still hasn’t solved her problem, and the scammers still have a fake profile up with her name.

“These people should not still be contacting my friends and family,” Boyd said. “No way should they be. This is, what, six months later, nine months later? Come on!”

After Werner reached out to Facebook, it asked us for the URLs for the scam accounts, which we provided. Within hours, it appeared Facebook had blocked those accounts.

But Deborah Boyd says she has never been able to get back into her old profile, which has a lot of family photos and memories that she’d like to have back.

By the way, the people we mentioned whose photos were used? One declined to comment, but the other expressed shock when we told her. She had no idea her photo had been taken off her own website and used by fraudsters for a scam.

Watch out for fake “ransomware blocking” apps – They’re scams!

Hundreds of thousands of computers were infected with WannaCry ransomware only a couple weeks ago. The widespread attack impacted victims in over 150 countries across the globe in a short amount of time.

It didn’t take long for cybercriminals to find other ways to exploit WannaCry. Just last week we warned you about tech support scams that are supposedly connected to WannaCry trying to catch people off guard. Now, scammers are trying yet another way to piggyback on fears stemming from WannaCry.

What’s the latest WannaCry scam?

What’s happening now is, criminals are creating fraudulent apps in an effort to exploit fears over WannaCry ransomware. Researchers at McAfee recently discovered malicious Android apps taking advantage of those fears.

To make matters worse, the apps are available in the official Google Play Store. One example is called WannaCry Ransomware Protector.

Image: Example of malicious Android app (Source: McAfee)

If you do a search in the Play Store, you will find several apps dealing with WannaCry. Some are just guides, or games, or wallpapers. But others claim to protect Android gadgets against the ransomware attack.

Critical note: The most important thing to remember is that WannaCry ransomware is not able to infect Android gadgets. That’s because it only impacts Windows machines. The criminals behind the attack were able to exploit a flaw in the Windows operating system that allowed WannaCry to spread.

Even though that’s the case, people are so fearful of the ransomware attack they are downloading these malicious apps hoping to protect their gadgets. Some of these apps actually harm the users’ device. Instead of protecting the victims’ gadget, the app infects it with adware.

How to avoid malicious apps

The first rule in avoiding malicious apps is to never download apps from third-party stores. Google and Apple both have safety precautions in place that make it difficult for a malicious app to get past. The malicious apps found in the Google Play Store dealing with WannaCry is a rare occurrence and should never happen.

Here are suggestions to avoid malicious apps:

  • App stores – Stay away from third-party app stores because they do little vetting of apps, making it easier for scammers to spread malware there. Google Play and Apple’s App Store are the most secure way to download apps.
  • Check the apps’ developer – Verifying the name of the app developer is important. Copycat apps will have a different developer’s name than the actual one. Before downloading an app, do a Google search to find the original developer.
  • Reviews – Most of the popular apps will have reviews by other users in the app store. You can sometimes find reviews by experts online. These are helpful at pointing out malicious or faulty apps. If you find a review warning the app is malicious, do NOT download it.
  • Update your gadget – Make sure that you have downloaded the latest security and operating system updates. These updates usually include patches to help protect your device from the most recent threats.

If you do think that your Android device has been infected, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Click here to find out how to detect and remove a virus on your Android gadget. Please share this article with all of your family and friends who use Android, you could be saving them from a virus.

More stories you can’t miss:

How to protect yourself from ransomware

3 ways to spot a malicious website

Google tracking your offline shopping habits?

Security warnings as “10 Concerts” lists, free coupon scams go viral on Facebook

Concert-goers and shoppers are being warned about two unusual security risks on Facebook that have been going viral in the past few weeks.

One involves fake coupons claiming to offer deals ahead of Mother’s Day, which have been directing users to a survey site intended to steal information. 

The other seems like a simple game, posting the names of 10 concerts you’ve been to, including one that is actually a lie. Friends are supposed to guess which concert is the lie. Seems harmless, right?

Well, it turns out this fun little game could actually have unintended security consequences, according to experts.

Here’s what you need to know about the two trends circulating the social media site:

Free coupons offering Mother’s Day specials

Do those free $50-$75 off coupons to major retailers ahead of Mother’s Day sound too good to be true? That’s because they are — as some Facebook users are finding out the hard way.

Last week, a free $50 off coupon for Lowe’s Home Improvement was making the rounds on the social networking site. “LOWE’S is giving Free $50 coupons for EVERYONE! to celebrate Mother’s Day!” the coupon read.

Lowe’s confirmed the coupon is a fake and warned customers that it is most likely a phishing scam used to gather information. 

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Don’t click on this Lowe’s coupon; the company says it’s a phishing scam.

Lowe’s/Facebook

“Please be careful when responding to any pop-up ad either online or via social media; as, more often than not, the offer of gift cards or other prizes to customer’s in the guise of a specific company are set up to get your personal information for nefarious purposes,” the company said in a statement online.

Now, another fake offer has been making the rounds — $75 off at Bed Bath & Beyond.

“We know some of our customers are excited about this $75 offer circulating on Facebook. However, we all know some things are too good to be true!” the retail giant warned on Facebook. “We are sorry for any confusion and disappointment this fake coupon has caused.”

We know some of our customers are excited about this $75 offer circulating on Facebook. However, we all know some things…

Posted by Bed Bath & Beyond on Friday, April 28, 2017

Bed Bath & Beyond said they are partnering with Facebook to have the coupons removed. Facebook has not yet returned CBS News’ request for comment.

Friendly reminder: Facebook advises users do two things if they spot a fake ad
  1. If you suspect a post is fake, whether you simply believe it is false or click through it and notice something seems off, report the actual post to Facebook so the company can learn more about it.
  2. If you click on one of these posts and realize it’s not real, exit the page. Be wary of pages that ask you for credentials, and never put in personal information on sites that pop up unexpectedly.

If you happen to click on a hoax ad – like the one above – don’t worry, that doesn’t mean you’re at risk of getting hacked. Only users who enter their personal information are at risk.

The “10 Concerts I’ve Been To, One is a Lie” Facebook list

“I love this!” Facebook users write as they post a game that has become wildly popular on the site: “10 concerts, but there is one act that I haven’t seen live. Which is it?” 

While it may be fun to read your friends’ wild guesses, a cybersecurity expert warns users to think twice before posting.

screen-shot-2017-05-01-at-4-47-28-pm.png

An example of a “10 Concerts” list posted by a Facebook user.

Facebook/Screenshot

Cybersecurity consultant Joseph Ingemi says users who participate are giving away personal information to others, CBS Philly reports.

“The first thing that came to mind was a phishing attack where they could see your preferences and probably glean some demographics info from your band preference and send an email that says something like free tickets to whatever band you said you liked,” Ingemi explained. “You click on it and then you’ve downloaded malware or a virus and they have access to your network.”

Hackers could then get into your account by resetting your password.

“When you forget your password to various things, one of the [security] questions is what was the first concert you ever attended,” Ingemi said. “Well, if you have that list you could do some reverse engineering to figure out what might have been the first concert.”

If you want to participate and you’re concerned about the security risks, Ingemi recommends setting your privacy settings to “Friends Only,” preventing strangers — and potential hackers — from accessing that valuable information.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Watch out for tax scams on email, Facebook and your phone


Jennifer Jolly, Special for USA Today

9:02 a.m. ET March 18, 2017

CLOSE

Spot crooked Facebook posts, emails and texts this tax season. Jennifer Jolly reports.
Jennifer Jolly for USA TODAY

As if tax time weren’t tough enough, scammers are doubling down efforts to steal more of your hard-earned money. According to the Internal Revenue Service, there’s a spike in online tax scams and an aggressive phone scam is making the rounds again, too.

Here are the top telltale signs to help you spot a scam in your email, Facebook, or on your phone — before it can do any real damage.

Tweet from a Campaign, IL police lieutenant (Photo: @ramsyerCPD)

THE SCAM: The “IRS” calls — and they’re coming to arrest you

The first telltale sign of this scam is that it’s an out-of-the-blue call from the “IRS,” threatening to arrest you. Scammers often use fear to intimidate you and catch you off guard, and this one does both.

The way it works is like this: You get a phone message or call from someone “from the IRS,” or the “IRS legal department.” The person says that they’ve put a warrant out for your arrest and if you don’t make a payment over the phone immediately, you’ll be hauled off to jail. The scammer might even give a “badge number,” and throw around terms like “tax fraud” and “outstanding liability” to suck you in. They also tend to target the elderly, immigrants, and college students — people who might be easier to convince that they’ve made a mistake on their taxes.

THE FIX: Hang up!

Whatever you do, don’t pay a cent! The IRS does not initiate contact over the phone, nor do they “hunt you down” and threaten to send police to your door. Scammers often claim that you must pay your bill using a prepaid debit card, or seven iTunes gift cards, and that’s another thing the IRS just does not do. If you get one of these calls, hang up and report it immediately.

THE SCAM: The “IRS” emails you

Fake IRS email (Photo: State of Michigan Atty Gen’s office)

One of the biggest hot spots for tax fraudsters is your email inbox. You get an email saying your return is on hold or that you can expedite your payment if you reply with some bank account information. These fake emails use IRS logos and false email addresses to make themselves look official or add “case numbers” and other official looking information to confuse you. They’ve even started contacting people on Facebook, and will claim that you haven’t responded to emails, so they had to track you down on social media. Don’t be fooled, it’s all a huge scam.

THE FIX: Report and delete!

The IRS doesn’t send correspondence to taxpayers via email, and definitely never over Facebook. The IRS never asks for specific bank, debit, or credit card information via email or through a link to an online form. Never click a link from one of these emails or messages, or attempt to reply to the sender, because it might put you at risk for malware or computer viruses. The IRS recommends you immediately forward the suspicious email to phishing@irs.gov and then delete the original email so it can do no further harm.

THE SCAM: Fake mail from the “IRS”

The IRS sends a lot of letters, but so do scammers. One of most recent scams involves fake tax bills tied to the Affordable Care Act. It’s supposed to be a CP-2000 notice from the IRS, which is a real notice that some people might get indicating they owe money to the government. But take a look at a fake letter on the left, and compare it to a genuine notice on the right.

THE FIX: Double check and verify everything!

As clever as the fake notice seems, it’s filled with red flags. The overall layout and logo are different and the fakes direct you to make out the check to “I.R.S.” rather than the U.S. Treasury. If you get any kind of notice in the mail saying that you owe money or even that you have a refund coming, but need to give them your bank account or credit card information, don’t hand it over before confirming it’s actually from the government. You can find the official phone numbers for the IRS on its contact page, as well as addresses to send payments and other documentation if the government requests it.

THE SCAM: Fake tax preparer notices

Not every crook pretends to be from the government. Some scams show up in your email, on Facebook, Twitter, or by text message claiming to be from a legitimate tax service that you actually use, like TurboTax. As Intuit’s own Online Security Center explains, these are primarily “phishing” attacks trying to get you to either hand over sensitive information or click on a nefarious link. Here are two examples of fake TurboTax emails from one week alone:

Photo TurboTax 1

Fake “TurboTax” Email (Photo: Intuit)

Photo TurboTax 2

THE FIX: Send it to the trash or ask the “spoof”

Not to sound like a broken record here, but these scam emails all have one thing in common: they rely on you to click a link or reply to them in order to make you a victim. Don’t do it!

If you get an email like this, double check the senders’ address, where you’ll often find the company name misspelled. You can even the scan the email for suspicious links yourself by mousing over them (the address each link goes to appears at the bottom of the screen or in a little pop-up next to your mouse).

If you would rather be safe than sorry, just axe the email and head straight to the supposed source. If it’s from TurboTax, go straight to TurboTax.com to log in to your account. Never follow a link inside of an email because it could be sending you to a fake clone of the real thing. If you want the suspicious email investigated, you can even forward it to spoof@turbotax.com and they’ll check it out for themselves.

Bottomline: When in doubt, do a little homework

If something doesn’t look quite right, it never hurts to check it out. Here are some other resources for common scams:

  • Think you’ve spotted a tax prep fake? Check them out at the Better Business Bureau website.
  • Charity fraud is another big one: For charities soliciting donations, CharityNavigator and GuideStar keep rankings and ratings of all legitimate charities and it’s as simple as typing in the name.

Now’s probably a good time to remind you, and everyone you love, to update security software, lockdown those passwords, and when something feels a little off — trust your gut. After all, this is your money we’re talking about here.

Jennifer Jolly is an Emmy Award-winning consumer tech contributor and host of USA TODAY’s digital video show TECH NOW. E-mail her at jj@techish.com. Follow her on Twitter @JenniferJolly.

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Emotional Facebook Posts May Be Scams, Experts Warn « CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a scam that’s going viral – emotional Facebook posts begging to be liked and shared.

But on Tuesday night, there were new concerns mounting that the posts are not what they seem to be.

As CBS2’s Jessica Borg reported, chances are you have probably seen something like this on your Facebook feed – a friend shares a heartbreaking photo of a baby or a teenager with a life-threatening illness.

The post urges you to “like,” “comment,” or “share.”

Tatiana Morin said she sees it all the time — and it’s effective.

“When it comes to the animals or children, any traumatizing story, I think, is heartbreaking,” said Morin, of Garrison, Putnam County.

But experts are warning folks that not all of these emotional posts are real.

“What they’re trying to do is trap you,” said digital media expert Tanya Barrios.

Barrios said such fake posts are part of a scam called, “like-farming.” They can put your computer security at risk, or your personal data if you donate.

“It’s more in terms of any links that are associated with those posts is really going to be the scam part of it, because on Facebook itself, there’s not really data being collected on you,” Barrios said. “It’s ou getting off of Facebook — that’s their goal.”

To social media user Brigid Reilly, the scam does a disservice to the emotional posts that are real.

“That’s terrible,” said Reilly, of Park Slope, Brooklyn. “That’s like exploiting people.”

Experts said it can be difficult to figure out which Facebook posts are real and which are fake, but there are a few things you can look for that fake posts have in common.

• The post claims someone has cancer or other serious disease and needs money for surgery.

• It claims Facebook “has decided to help,” by donating a certain amount of money for “likes,” “comments,” or “shares.”

• It typically asks a Facebook user to comment, “Amen,” at the end of the post.

So the next time you see a photo that catches your eye, look for those signs before responding.

Meanwhile, one other concern is these posts stealing someone’s public photos and making up emotional stories to lure people in.

It happened to a family in the UK — scammers took a little boy’s photo and made up a story about him having cancer. The post got 2 million “shares,” and 300,000 “likes.”

If you suspect a scam, contact Facebook immediately so it can delete the post.

Top Story: Look out for Facebook wine bottle exchange scams

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, college football bowl season! I’m kidding, of course, it’s Christmas.

If you’re like me, you love finding the perfect gifts for those closest to you. I’m always looking for a great deal to help cross off those hard to buy for friends on my shopping list. I recently found one making the rounds on Facebook, unfortunately, it turned out to be the latest hoax.

Holiday wine bottle exchange

The latest scam targeting Facebook users is the “holiday wine bottle exchange.”

What’s happening is, you’re asked if you’re interested in a holiday wine bottle exchange, or total wine gift card exchange.

You are told that you only have to purchase one bottle of wine valued at $15 or more. In return, the scammer says that you will receive between six and 36 wine bottles or gift cards. The return depends on how many wine drinkers join.

The wording might be different depending on which post you see, but the message is the same. Here is what the scam looks like, I found this on my Facebook newsfeed:

wine-exchange

Warning! If you see a post like this, DO NOT SEND MONEY! This is a scam and you will not receive any wine.

The “holiday wine bottle exchange” is similar to how a pyramid scheme works. The U.S. Postal Service said this is basically a chain letter, which is illegal because it’s a form of gambling. So, even if you did receive wine in return, it would be illegal.

Police are asking people to watch for any of these posts and not to fall for this hoax. You also should report the post to Facebook if you see one.

To report a Facebook post:

  1. Click the downward pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the post.
  2. Click Report post or Report photo.
  3. Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.

This isn’t the first scam we’ve seen on Facebook and it definitely won’t be the last. It wasn’t long ago that a similar scam was being passed around, it was called the “secret sister gift exchange.”

A great rule to live by is if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

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