You’ve likely seen Facebook posts showing heart-wrenching images of desperately ill children, asking you to comment ‘Amen’. This is a common type of social media hoax called ‘Like farming’.
Other common hoaxes include offers of free goods like airfares, phones and tablets, or competitions offering prizes like cars and holidays. Entry can involve Liking a page or post, sharing a post, or tagging friends.
It might seem harmless to respond, but is it really?
Why do they do it?
Simple. Hoaxsters want your data, which can be sold for direct marketing or (worst case) to steal your identity.
How do they do it?
Hoaxsters take whatever they can from your profile, and some use pretty sophisticated tools to delve depper. Public profiles are at most risk.
They will take anything you’ve made public, including your email address, date of birth or phone number.
Some hoaxes prompt you to enter your details via a website, which is hugely risky.
Not only will they steal your data, these sites may also download viruses to your computer or device.
Tips to avoid falling into the trap
1. Don’t respond to ‘Amen’ posts. If you see a friend do it, message them. Don’t reply to them via the post because you’re effectively replying to the original post.
2. Don’t Like pages or posts without verifying that they are legit. Search for the verified page, which will have a blue or grey tick next to it.
3. Don’t click on any links in these posts.
·4. Brands usually promote offers and competitions on their websites as well as social media. Check their website to see if there’s any mention of a freebie or giveaway.
Here’s our top tip – remember the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
David Kelly is the founder of KHQ Approved, a fixed fee commercial contract review service. Peace of mind from an experienced team for a reasonable price.