The Ripoff Alert is a new series appearing once each week on Fridays. It alerts you to the latest scams and ripoffs trying to get between you and your money, and gives you information you need to stay safe.
Facebook Photo Tagging Virus
Everybody and their 8 year-old kid is on Facebook. In August, the site is expected to reach 1 billion active users a month. These users upload 300 million photos each day.
So naturally, Facebook and its users are ripe targets for scam attempts. Several technology blogs are reporting a new, widespread attempt by scammers to load a virus onto your computer via the photo-tagging notification system.
Here’s how it works: You receive an email saying you’ve been tagged in a photo. You open the email, and it looks very similar to notification emails you’ve always received from Facebook. You click the link and BAM – a virus is loaded onto your computer in just 4 seconds. Then you’re redirected to a real-looking Facebook page. It’s quick, seamless, and you probably didn’t notice a thing.
But before you click on any links, look closely at the sender’s email address. You’ll notice it’s spelled “Faceboook” with three Os. Another way you can tell it’s a ruse is to hover your mouse pointer over any links in the email. Without clicking, you should be able to see they won’t take you to Facebook.
The scamsters know we’ve all received so many of these notification emails in the past that we don’t even think about it anymore. They are using our trust against us. Or maybe just our habits.
Make it a habit to be suspicious of any emails you receive that have links in them. Before you click, make sure you really recognize the email address. In this case, it’s probably best to just delete the email, log into your Facebook account using a new tab, and look at the new photos on your profile page.
Think before you click and you’ll stay out of trouble.