Avoiding Facebook Spam

I have seen several of my friends fall victim to these last week, and felt it necessary to write a post about it, because even really smart techy friends of mine have done it, and that’s just concerning.  So here it is my guide to the different “lure’s” that attract people to click, so you can avoid passing it on.

“I Can’t Believe Justin Bieber did THIS to a Girl” –  This is one that I have seen recently.  There is a video, and the link says that phrase.  This type of “lure” I will call them is appealing to your curiosity of scandalous celebrity acts.  You think to yourself… what in the world could Justin Bieber have done to that poor girl??  So you click.  There is obviously your first mistake.  If you are really that curious about it, Google the phrase instead of clicking the link in your Facebook page.  The second mistake is that if you click the video, and it doesn’t immediately play, do not continue!  If it’s asking you for your password again, or making you agree to something before playing the video, just STOP RIGHT THERE.  Typically if I’m going to share a YouTube video on Facebook, you can play the video right within your Wall.  You don’t even have to leave the page to get the video to play, so if it takes you elsewhere, it’s probably NOT legit.

Look at me/your baby/your husband in an age enhanced photo! – Here is another one I’ve seen recently.  Sounds harmless, right?  You can see what your baby will look like, or what you will look like when you are older!  This “lure” appeals to your curiosity of the future.  A friend of mine fell for this one, but it was obvious that it wasn’t her posting this on my wall.  Here is why… while I don’t mind other people using the word “damn”, I know that this girl probably wouldn’t have used that word.  So the fact that it had that word in the description, set off a red flag to me.  When you are looking at something someone posted on your wall, or even if they just shared it with everyone, take a look at the language in the update.  Is it something they would typically say, or something they are usually interested in?  If I post a tech article, good chances are that it’s actually from me.  If I post a Twilight article (ok, unless it’s bashing Twilight, which does seem about right for me), it’s probably NOT from me.

First status/Who’s looking/Etc – This “lure” will appeal to your curiosity of Facebook.  Who is looking at my profile?  Sign this to make sure Facebook stays free, cause they are going to start charging (they aren’t by the way, they will never charge to use Facebook) What did I say when I first joined Facebook?  Don’t fall for it, and definitely don’t give them your password to login… even if the page looks like Facebook.

FREE Stuff!! – This “lure” appeals to your… “I want cool stuff for free” curiousity.  You are not going to be given a free iPad, you are not going to be given a free TV/Blu-Ray player etc etc etc.  So please definitely don’t click that link.  The exception to this rule is sweepstakes.  If it’s a legitimate sweepstakes, it should be safe to click.  If they are saying you will absolutely get the item for free by clicking, it’s not really going to happen.

So, when your friend posts something that looks a little strange to you, comment on the post and ask them about it.  Are they sorry they clicked it?  Did they even mean to re-post it?  You can also google the phrase or comment on the post and see if other people are saying it’s a virus or a scam.  Don’t let curiosity get the best of you, be smart about what you click, and if you have fallen for it, make sure you post as your next status NOT to click the link, report it as spam, change your password, and check the applications that have access to your Facebook (access this by clicking “Account” in the top right hand corner, then “Privacy Settings”, then click “edit settings” under “Apps and Websites” (bottom left) and click edit settings next to “Apps You Use”.  Anything that doesn’t look familiar, just click the “x” to remove it.)

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About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com

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