With a user base that’s steadily approaching the one billion mark, it’s no surprise that Facebook is a magnet for scammers. The most recent scam to target Facebook users involved getting them to unwittingly grant access to their accounts.
According to Graham Cluley for the Naked Security blog, around mid-June 2012, some Facebook users received the following message when attempting to log in to their accounts:
Warning : Announcement from Facebook Verification Team: All Profiles must be verified before 15th June 2012 to avoid Scams under SOPA and PIPA Act. The unverified accounts will be terminated. Verify your Account by steps below.
People who clicked on the Verify My Account Now link were asked to approve a third-party app that would give the hacker complete access to their Facebook accounts. Cluley advises those who fell victim to the scam to “remove the messages from your timeline, revoke the app’s publishing rights and report it as spam to Facebook, and ensure that you have revoked its access to your account.”
It’s easy to be duped by scams like the one that recently targeted Facebook users because the message looked as if it was coming from Facebook. One thing to remember is that Facebook would never ask you to share a warning with your friends. Facebook’s “verification team” would do that on its own. Another thing to consider is the date. Facebook is an U.S.-based company. In the U.S., dates are formatted as month-day-year, so it would appear as June 15, 2012.
Hackers get more sophisticated every day, and given the kind of information that people share on Facebook, it makes sense that cyber criminals would want to gain access to as many accounts as possible. When it comes to things like account verification, it’s always a good idea to be skeptical, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.