A Facebook notification alert arrives and you are notified someone has written on your wall. Celebrate good times, someone has reached out on a social network! You are elated and instantly head to Facebook to check out the new post- hoping for a glorious review of your amazing real estate skills.
You peek at your page, surprised to find a link to an “Osama Shoot Down” video from a friend. Is this thing real?
To click or not to click?
This is often the question. Unfortunately, phishing scams on trusted sites like Facebook are prevalent and growing. Recently we have seen phishing scams such as:
- “Osama Shoot Down Video”
- “This Will Leave You Speechless, See Bin Laden Dead”
- “See Who Has Clicked Your Profile”
- “Wow, how creepy, LOL i look scary as an old person!”
These are just a few. Sadly, unsuspecting Facebook users who click these links posted by friends may find themselves sharing the phishing love with their own friends.
What is phishing?
Facebook describes phishing as this:
“Phishing happens when you enter your login credentials on a fake Facebook login page or download malicious software to your computer. This may result in messages or links being automatically sent to a large number of your friends. These messages or links are often advertisements encouraging your friends to check out videos or products.”
5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Phishing Scams
- Don’t click an a link that looks questionable. Ways to tell: The friend who “posted on your wall” doesn’t normally share links, the topic seems out of place or you are tagged in an unusual photo that you aren’t in. If a post looks out of place on your wall, delete it. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
- If you do follow a link and it takes you to a survey or asks you to fill out a form, close your browser immediately.
- If you are really tempted to click a link, do a Google search to make sure it is not a known scam.
- Use a current browser! We often hear from real estate pros that they don’t upgrade their browsers because some legacy software might not work. Browser upgrades are essential to protecting your computer from malware. Note; While you want to have an up-to-date browser, check with your MLS provider to make sure a browser upgrade won’t hinder your MLS access.
I’ve been Phished!
What To Do If You Make A Wrong Click
- Remove any posts made on your walls
- Go to Account> Privacy Settings > Applications and Websites and remove any applications that look suspicious.
- Reset your password from your Facebook account settings.
- If you have given out any sensitive information such as a bank account number, credit card number or ATM number, contact your bank or card holder and notify them immediately.
- Report it to Facebook.
Even if you don’t think you have been a victim of a phishing scam, I recommend you do a “safety check” once a month to ensure you know what applications have access to your data. As matter of fact, go do it now. It will only take a few minutes.