Internet Security

The Latest Scam: “Malicious Tagging” on Facebook

Written by Renee Morad for Symantec

The Better Business Bureau is warning about a new scam called "malicious tagging" that is targeting Facebook users. In recent months, several thousand users of the social media site have become victims of this threat.

It all begins when you get tagged in a Facebook post, along with some other Facebook friends. Since you see your friends are also tagged in the post — and in many cases, a friend of yours appears to have shared the post — you assume the link is safe. However, it turns out to be a link to an "adult" video, and when you click it, a pop-up window appears. You're prompted to download a Flash player update before watching the video, which is really malware.

The malware immediately scans your computer for personal and banking information and then perpetuates the scam, taking over your computer and creating another fake post with some of your friends tagged in it.

The BBB outlines a number of steps to take when you suspect or are confronted with malicious tagging on Facebook, and in some case, when using Twitter.

1. Don't Click

The BBB warns against clicking on links that contain descriptions such as, "exclusive," "shocking" or "sensational" footage. If it sounds over-the-top, it's likely a scam.

2. Be Leery of Shortened Links

Scammers often use link-shortening sites to disguise malicious links. Don't fall for it. If you can't tell the destination of the link without clicking, there's a good chance it could lead you down the wrong path.

3. Don't Trust What Your Friends Post

The malicious tagging scam has impacted so many people because people assume that whatever their friends post is safe. However, you unfortunately can't be sure your friends' computer hasn't been hacked. Even when it appears your friend is "liking" or "retweeting" a link, it could also be part of a scam.

4. Report Scams

To help stop the rapid spread of this malicious tagging scam, it's helpful to report an issue promptly. 

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