The 8 Top Facebook Scams of 2020 (and How to Avoid Them)

Be aware of these Facebook scams so you can stay safe

Because Facebook is so popular, it's become the home for many hackers and online scams. To keep yourself safe, it's important to be aware of the dangers you may find. The following are some of the top Facebook scams to watch out for.

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Celebrity Cash Giveaway

Screenshot of fake Facebook celebrity scam

One of the most common things you'll see on Facebook are posts (usually shared by friends) claiming a celebrity is offering a large giveaway. All you need to do is like and share the post.

One of the most common of these was an Ellen DeGeneres giveaway in 2018 featuring the photo of the talk show star and promising gift cards, cash, and prizes to a lucky winner who liked, shared, and commented on the post. The post originated from a fake account.

The dangers of scams like this are your information getting collected by scammers. Typically, scammers would resell these Facebook accounts for their high volume of likes and shares.

The real danger of most of these scams comes when visitors click through to the "prize" page and end up downloading malware to their computers.

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Who's Viewed My Profile

Screenshot of a Who's Viewed My Profile page

One of the most common topics searched for on the internet is how to see who viewed your Facebook profile.

The scam is an ad that'll show up in your Facebook news feed or seemingly from a Facebook friend, featuring an app or service that can show you who has been viewing your Facebook profile.

The problem is there's no way it's technically possible to see who's viewed your Facebook profile. Facebook doesn't offer the feature, and it's impossible for any external service to accomplish this.

If you do click the ad and install the software, it could install malware onto your computer, obtain your Facebook login credentials, or otherwise steal your personal information.

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Fake Coupon Scams

Screenshot of the Publix coupon scam

One of the most frequent Facebook scams recently is what's called the fake coupon scam. These are ads offering high value coupons to popular stores like Lowes, Pizza Hut, grocery stores, and more.

There are a few red flags to identify whether one of these ads is a scam.

  • Too good to be true: The coupons are for an unusually high value.
  • No blue checkmark: If you've clicked through to the coupon page and there's no blue "verified" checkmark.
  • Download required: If you need to download and install a file to receive your coupon, it's likely a dangerous scam.
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Facebook Phishing Scams

Screenshot of a Facebook phishing scam

Another dangerous scam actually comes from outside of Facebook and will appear in your email inbox. Scammers will send emails that appear to come from Facebook in an effort to get you to click one of the links in the email, then enter your Facebook login information.

Once you make this mistake, the hacker will have access to your Facebook account. They can then change the password and begin sending other Facebook scams and posts to your unsuspecting friends.

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Malicious Tagging Scam

Screenshot of a messenger scam

Once hackers gain access to someone's Facebook account, one of the first things they'll do is send private messages to all friends of that account. They may also decide to create a post featuring a malicious ad and tag all of your friends. This is a scam known as "malicious tagging."

It's so effective because people tend to trust personal messages from their Facebook friends. No one usually suspects the message is from a hacked account, and many times hackers try to craft these messages to appear friendly and conversational. But once your friends click the link, they'll find their Facebook account hacked as well.

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Fake News on Facebook

Image of a fake news website

Nipitphon Na Chiangmai/EyeEm/Getty Images

One of the worse Facebook scams is the proliferation of fake news on the site. This isn't the kind of "fake news" referred to by partisan politicians. The dangerous sort of fake news you find on Facebook are links to ficticious news websites reporting a story that never happened.

This could be a report of a celebrity giveaway, false news about the death of a celebrity, or, in more recent years, fabricated news stories about political candidates.

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Work From Home Scams

Screenshot of a work from home scam on Facebook

If you've used Facebook for job hunting, then you're probably well aware of all of the work from home scams that exist on Facebook.

These are ads promising you'll make an unbelievably large amount of money every month for very little effort. However, as with most things that seem too good to be true, most of these ads are complete scams. These ads are looking to accomplish any number of things, including:

  • Gathering personal email accounts to sell as mailing lists.
  • Getting you to go to malicious websites and install malware
  • Convincing you to send money to learn more about the opportunity

In every case, you end up losing something and gaining nothing in return.

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Facebook Catfishing Scams

Image of someone texting "I love you"

 Tero Vesalainen/Getty Images

One of the more dangerous Facebook scams is catfishing. This is where you receive a Facebook message from someone (usually with an attractive profile photo) asking to talk. The chat will become romantic before long, as the scammer attempts to draw you in.

Social media catfishing typically targets older Facebook users, who scammers consider are more likely to be lonely and in search of companionship.

These "relationships" usually turn into requests for cash, using various excuses. According to the Australian government website Scamwatch, "Dating & Romance" scams net the second highest financial losses for victims of all scams.