As Facebook and Google roll out new ad policies for the presidential election, scammers are seeing a golden opportunity. Capitalizing on confusion about rule changes, con artists are sending fake messages to business owners in an attempt to gain access to sensitive information.
How the Scam Works
You receive a very real looking email that appears to come from Facebook or Google. It has all the right logos and uses professional language to tell you your ad account hasn’t been following the rules and has been or will be deactivated. To find out more information and to reactivate your account, the email asks you to click on a link.
No matter how convincing the email seems, don’t click the link! It could download malware onto your computer and compromise your personal information. In some cases, the link in the email leads to a fake login page. If you enter your login ID and password, scammers will have gained access to your account.
How to Avoid Email Scams
- Verify the status of your account before you act. Even if an email looks convincing, visit the official website, and try logging into your account before you click on any link in an email or reply with your personal information. If your “deactivated” account is still up and running, the email is a scam.
- Never click on links in questionable emails. Scammers make links and webpages that look real, but even an official looking webpage could be infected with malware. Never click on links in unsolicited messages to avoid phishing scams.
- Watch out for shortened links. Many scammers prompt you to click on shortened links, such as Bit.ly or Goo.gl. The problem is, it’s impossible to know where this kind of link will lead.
- Take advantage of Facebook security features. Facebook has a security feature that allows you to see if security related messages you’ve received are legitimate. If you check the tool and discover the message you received is fake, report it.
- Don’t be hasty because of an “urgent” message. Scammers like to mislead their victims with serious situations that require immediate action. Even if a message claims your account is about to be deactivated or your password is being reset, don’t panic. If it seems unlikely, use caution and verify the claims before you act.
For More Information
If you’ve been the victim of a scam, expose con artists’ tactics by reporting your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker.