Telegraph – Facebook users continue to fall for the same old scams, according to new research, with even well-educated people giving themselves up to inappropriate and even dangerous behavior on the social network.
In a two-year study of over 850,000 Facebook scams by Bitdefender, the internet security company revealed that scammers have infected millions of users with the same repackaged tricks.
Almost half of social media threats prey on users’ curiosity to check who has viewed their profile. The most popular Facebook scam offers users the chance to see if ex-boyfriends or girlfriends have stalked them online.
Around one in three scams attract victims with features that Facebook doesn’t even have – such as dislike buttons and different timeline colours, appealing to users’ desire to embellish their online profiles.
Bogus giveaways, including free Disneyland tickets and game points, accounted for 16.5 per cent of scams in the last two years, appealing to the bargain-hunters among Facebook’s user base.
Meanwhile, atrocity videos, which use horrendous images such as maimed animals, suffering children and tortured women to get Facebook users’ attention, now account for almost 1 per cent of all scams.
Studies reveal that children’s empathy in the last 30 years has drastically decreased, while their tolerance towards violence intensified, and Bitdefender predicts that the number of atrocity video scams will intensify in the future.
“In the attempt of creating a profile of the most gullible victims, Bitdefender’s behavior analysts discovered there is such a wide range of users falling for Facebook scams, that an exact profiling would be too restrictive,” said the company in its report.
“Anyone could fall victim to a Facebook scam at one point in his life, as cyber-criminals always pull the right psychological triggers.”
Bitdefender advises users to keep their operating system, antivirus solution and other software frequently updated, as hackers can exploit vulnerabilities found on systems.
Users should also avoid completing Facebook surveys and sharing or liking websites to view a video, and they should not install updates requested by viral videos.
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