Recently we’ve received questions about Medicare Flex Cards and genetic test kits being advertised on Facebook. We need to talk about protecting yourself on social media from scams in general. As social media grows, so do the scams. If you use Facebook, you’ve probably already recognized this. The ads are everywhere. Flex Cards are only available through some Medicare Advantage Plans.
Since Facebook earns the bulk of its revenue from sponsored ads, they aren’t going to go away either. Instead of worrying about if or when you will fall victim, take steps now to understand the risks and the ways to protect yourself and then sit back and enjoy staying in touch with your friends and family.
The #1 tip to staying ahead of the ads that aren’t legitimate is to understand that a legitimate sponsored ad will have the word “sponsored” above it. If you see something that looks like an ad but doesn’t have the word “sponsored” above it, it is a scam 100% of the time.
Now that you can recognize the obvious scams, from there you need to look at the sponsored ads. A sponsored ad on Facebook can also be fraudulent or misleading, only someone paid Facebook to post it. Facebook does a good job of vetting ahead of time, but for those who slip through, here are a few things to keep in mind.
As always, if it sounds too good to be true…. I probably don’t need to finish this sentence.
If you still want to check it out, don’t click on the ad as you’ll probably be taken to a fraudulent website that could steal your personal information including credit card information, plus could download malware onto your device.
Instead, if you are interested in the item, search online, and go to the website separately. And even then a good practice if you have any suspicions is to type the name plus “scam” or “complaint” in the search engine and see if there is anything there.
Currently there is a lot of people being hacked on Facebook. So, if you are already friends with someone and you suddenly receive a friend request delete it. Most likely they have been hacked. Also, scammers that have hacked messenger accounts are sending out messages that include where you need to click a link for either information or winning something. So, the message looks like it is from your friend. Recent one that we are aware of was from a friend and it had a link to click for additional monies for 2022 Stimulus Tax Dollars.
In addition to the ads, the Federal Trade Commission warns that scammers can hide behind phony profiles on social media. They can take over an account or join a virtual community you trust to encourage you to trust them. But you can make it harder for scammer to target you:
REVIEW YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRIVACY SETTINGS AND LIMIT WHAT YOU SHARE PUBLICLY.