3. The Content Is Newsworthy But Promises Something Extraordinary
Facebook scammers often take advantage of popular, tragic or unexpected news, such as the death of a celebrity. These posts might promise the final pictures of the celebrity's life or the first pictures of their deceased body, Cluley said.
"Many of us are consumed by tabloid news and just out of morbid curiosity might be tempted to do what a post asks in order to view that video or photograph," he said. "It's understandable, too, because so much news breaks on social media."
These types of scams are often clickjacking attempts in which you see a thumbnail with the "Play" button. When you click it, you're actually clicking an invisible Like button. Your Facebook friends then see that you've liked that page or video and might like it themselves, further spreading the scam.
If you're tempted to click, Cluley said to ask yourself whether or not it's out of character for your friend to share such a video or image. If you're still unsure, Google the news in question or turn to a reputable news site for the content.
4. It Promises Something Facebook Would Never Do
Some of the most popular scams are those that ask you to download an app that shows you who has viewed your profile, Cluley said.
"These scams offer something every Facebook user wants, and it's something that is within Facebook's technical power to deliver," he said. "But Facebook is not going to do it, and they have no plans to do it. But people still click and before you know it, that message is spreading again."
Scammers also prey on newsworthy changes Facebook makes, such as announcing a new feature or privacy change, he said. One example of this is the "Graphic App" privacy warning hoax, in which users share a message warning of a change in Facebook's privacy settings. The message inaccurately warns of the privacy implications of Facebook's Graph Search, which recently rolled out to all users.
Before you share such a warning or sign an alleged petition to prevent Facebook from making a change, do your homework and verify the rumor or news, he said.
In addition, there are preventative measures you can take to ensure you stay safe while using Facebook.
Cluley advises that you:
-- Keep your antivirus software, plugins and patches current. Check regularly for updates.
-- Set a strong Facebook password that's difficult to guess and is one you're not using elsewhere.
-- Check to see which Facebook apps you've granted permission to and remove suspicious apps you don't remember downloading.