Social media platforms are rife with scams and misinformation, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. While some platforms are trying to crack down on false claims about the virus, they’re struggling to catch all the scams running rampant. That means it’s up to you to keep yourself safe.
Although these scams were more common in the earlier weeks of the virus, there are still plenty of shopping frauds. Watch out for ads that offer low prices on hard-to-find items like face masks, toilet paper, or hand sanitizer. If you try to buy these items, one of two things might happen:
Obviously, neither of those is a great outcome. Another issue you might find is when you click on an ad, it takes you to a fraudulent website. This page might look legitimate, but you should always carefully check the URL (www.amazon.com and not www. amazone.com, for example) before entering any information.
Charity scams are a bigger problem than ever as more and more of us want to help out our fellow humans out during these tough times. You may see pleas for charitable donations of cash on your timeline. After all, people are keen to share these kinds of messages in order to help out.
However, you should be very skeptical of giving money to people you don’t know online, even with the best of intentions. These pleas for help might not be fake… but the balance of likelihood is against it. If you want to help, go through a reputable charity online or donate directly to an organization in your community.
What would you do if you got a message from a stranger on Facebook? Most of us would close it without responding. Some of us would kindly tell the messenger that they had the wrong person.
But these online criminals are betting that at least a handful of people will engage–and then the scam begins. They may tell you a wild, convoluted story: anything to get you to give up your hard-earned cash or valuable personal info.
Facebook has gotten better about warning people about these messages, but you should still be cautious.
Facebook is doing one major thing to stop the spread of misinformation. In April, Facebook announced that they would send “nudges” if you liked content that had been fact-checked and proven to be false. They’ve also started taking videos that contain misinformation, such as the “Plandemic” viral video post.