You run across a Facebook post containing an image of a pitiful baby, with a caption stating that the infant has some sort of disease, in need of surgery. The post now asks you to like, comment, and share, as this would allegedly make a donation towards the cause.
What do you do?
While it does seem harmless to like that post of the baby and comment to extend your sympathies, Facebook users actually need to become extra cautious about interacting with these kind of posts. It is very likely that these things are a part of a "like-farming" scam making the rounds on the social network, pretending to be an innocent post, but are out to steal your data.
The Better Business Bureau warned Facebook users regarding the trick back in 2015, and the scam has resurfaced more recently, according to a report by CBS News. The like-farming scam lures people into liking or sharing a Facebook page by stating that Facebook will make a donation for each action.
For instance, a new like-farming Facebook post was found recently, starring a 3-year old boy. The post claimed that the young boy had cancer, and that the kid needs surgery. Since it was asking to be shared, the post garnered 2.1 million shares and nearly 300,000 likes, all before it was taken down for violating Facebook's Terms of Service.
It was later revealed through the BBC that the child's photo was stolen from Sarah Allen from the UK, and the post was manipulated into thinking the boy had cancer. In reality, the kid only had a severe case of chicken pox, and Allen made a public post to urge the government to make vaccine for the disease free.
It was confirmed to CBS News that the fraudulent posts including Allen's pictures have ultimately been taken down. These posts are clearly distressing for the families and this content has now been removed,” a Facebook spokesperson said. “We apologize for the delay in taking them down.”
“Once the page creators have piled up hundreds of likes and shares, they may strip the page and promote something else, such as products that they will receive commissions for selling,” the BBB explains further. “They may also sell the page and information that was collected from the ‘likes’ with a more direct threat of gaining access in an attempt to gather credit card numbers that may be stored for certain Facebook apps, passwords or other personal information.”
Scam-filled content are nothing new on Facebook, with people exploiting its popularity to manipulate others. With this in consideration, it pays to be extra careful whenever we see posts on Facebook like the one mentioned above. Remember that ignoring the post, and refusing to share it to your friends will work wonders, as this will help stop the spread of fake posts that have an objective of exploiting your data in the long run.
Source: CBS News