The FBI have issued a warning about cyber-criminals using Facebook Messenger to trick people into opening malicious links that harvest their personal data by circulating a message that urges people to open a link.

The message reads ‘Hey I saw this video. Isn’t this you?’ coupled with a URL. other variations use phrases such as “someone is saying bad things about you” or “someone is spreading rumors about you.”.

The most common version of the scam takes the user to a fraudulent website designed to resemble the Facebook login page.

The webpage is forged and is controlled by a fraudster who is able to steal any details inputted by users mistakenly believing they’re logging into their Facebook account.

If people use the same email address and password combination on other websites, hackers can use the stolen details to login to those as well.

This can allow criminals access to online banking, or frequent flyer miles.

The best way to spot and avoid these scams is to avoid clicking on any links that you receive from friends or family until you contact the sender outside of app to verify that he was the one who really sent the message.

The key to the scam is the seeming familiarity of the sender: a friend, family or relative.

Scammers use two rules of thumb to lure victims.

  • The first is to gain the confidence of their target through the credibility of a friend, authority figure, or organization that the victim is likely to trust.
  • The second rule of thumb scammers use is to create a sense of urgency or threats to get victims to act immediately without stopping to think!