Tip: How to Avoid Facebook and Twitter Login Scams

Updated: 18/10/2012

I don’t use Facebook, I deleted my profile about five years ago however now and again I get some interesting spam via Twitter. Namely this tells me that someone has said something about me on Facebook, which of course is possible. However, so far all these links to content about me have been scams which aim to trick me into parting with my Twitter login details. In all cases it appears genuine, for example the URL is apps.facebook.com. Also in my case I received such links mainly from people who I was following so any forwarding link may seem genuine. However, before you do anything please check the following:

  • Does the person who has sent you the link on Twitter actually follow you? You can check this by sending them a direct message, if they don’t follow you then you cannot send a direct message. You can also look in your followers list. If they are not following you the chances are they probably won’t be tweeting you to say there is something about you on the net.
  • If you get the same message saying your are on Facebook from many people who you may not have heard of then it may be dodgy, so look out.
  • If you do click on the link then its good idea to move the mouse over the various content elements, but DO NOT enter your details or click anything. When you move the mouse pointer over say the login button or other elements what links appear at the bottom of the screen? If it is not twitter.com then it’s a fake site that is trying to trick you into parting with you details. You will get all kinds of stupid website names. Not sure where the link is displayed? Chrome and other browsers normally display the URL at the bottom of the browser window even before clicking on it. In general just don’t click on any links you find suspicious.
  • In general do not trust Apps listed even on Facebook that ask you to part with login details for other services such as Twitter unless you know from others they are trustworthy. Not sure? Then Google the App name to check it out. Facebook does not seem to have a reliable mechanism for checking apps. As I said the most recent scam I received actually ran on apps.facebook.com
  • If you start receiving lots of tweets from people you don’t know or who don’t follow you saying you are on Facebook just ignore them.
  • Enter bogus login details, if that works you know it’s a hoax.
  • Do not click on any movie files on the landing page, this as I found (too late for me) only causes problems. Chrome for example now seems to have absorbed some malware advertising app, so its messed up. Fortunately Safari still works.

There are no doubt other ways to avoid being scammed but these normally work fine for me. I managed to avoid the Twitter scam but I did accidentally clicked on one thing before I realised fully what was going on the result now is that Chrome is infected with some form of spam advertising. Therefore even if it is on Facebook do not trust it!

¬†Update.¬†It seems the dodgy advertising that was infecting my blog only under Chrome was caused by some Chrome extension which was adding in banner adverts to my site. I will write more on this later….

About Rod McCall

Rod McCall is a researcher in the field of human-computer interaction in areas such as augmented reality, mobile gaming in-car systems and virtual environments. He has a passing interest in economics after not being entirely convinced by the rubbish presented as fact during lectures on that particular subject while at uni.
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