That appears to be the case with the latest online scheme circulating on Facebook, according to a scam alert issued Friday by the Better Business Bureau about what it calls the “Facebook shutdown scam.”
Basically, some Facebook users are finding an official-looking post on their news feeds claiming that their account will be shut down Sunday. The posting appears to originate from Facebook’s corporate offices or from founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
To avoid this fate, users are directed to “register” their accounts online by clicking on a link to a third-party website purportedly working hand in hand with Facebook.
What really happens, according to the BBB, is that you end up surrendering your account information to scam artists, who then have access to your account and can use that information to send spam to your friends or create other online havoc.
“This Facebook shutdown scam has been popping up every few months for the last three years,” the BBB says. “It may take a slightly different form next time, but don’t be fooled. Facebook isn’t closing anytime soon.”
To avoid falling for other Facebook “click bait” scams, the BBB suggests you:
— Ignore tempting suggestions to follow links to “shocking” or “sensational” video footage.
— Be aware that your “friend” liking or sharing scam links may not actually be your friend.
— Verify these questionable posts — a simple Google search oftentimes will suffice — before sharing them with your friends.
— And if you suspect your account is spewing out spam, visit the Facebook Desktop Help page and follow the directions listed there.
“Some scams just won’t die,” the BBB says. “The Facebook shutdown scam is the perfect example. As long as people keep falling for it, it will keep coming back. Don’t let the scam fool you this time … or in a few months when it pops up again.”
The complete scam alert is available here.