Helping to stop scams online

Meta Policy AU
Meta Australia Policy Blog
4 min readFeb 1, 2023

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Josh Machin, Head of Policy — Australia
Originally Published: 8 November 2022

As Australians continue to spend more time online to stay in touch, work and consume entertainment — scammers continue to find new and novel ways to gain access to peoples’ personal details. Now more than ever, Australians need to remain vigilant and make sure they are well-equipped to identify a scam and protect themselves online.

Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their tactics to target people online. This is why it’s so important for Meta’s community to learn how to identify and avoid scams so that they can protect themselves online.

We recommend the following tips to follow and protect yourself from scams:

  • Set up two-factor authentication — it’s simple to do and adds a second layer of protection to your account, by sharing a notification whenever there’s an attempt to access your account. To find out more about setting up two-factor authentication (or 2FA) on Facebook, click here. For Instagram, click here.
  • Protect your personal information at all times — never share your personal information, such as your ID documents, payment login details or passwords.
  • Look out for suspicious behaviour, links, emails or messages — if in doubt, don’t click or respond. Take action and report your suspicions via our Facebook or Instagram help centres or report it to the police.

Tips on how to avoid and spot some of the most common scams across our services.

Romance scams
Romance scams are unfortunately common. Typically, the scammer will contact someone and claim to be looking for love or friendship. Once they have built trust, they slowly escalate their conversations and requests and begin asking for money or other favours.

Remember:

  • Be cautious about who you communicate with online and don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know.
  • Never send personal details like your ID or money to someone you don’t know or trust.
  • And make sure you set up two-factor authentication on all your accounts.

Marketplace scams
There are many benefits to shopping online, but we also need to be aware that there’s a range of online shopping scams. The most common scams either claim to sell products they don’t have or sell low-quality products at top-quality prices. Scammers may even steal a real company’s marketing images, making it difficult to tell them apart.

Remember:

  • Check if the Facebook profile appears new or incomplete, as this could be a sign that the account has been set up for scamming.
  • Check reviews of online sellers to see what previous customers have said.
  • Insist on meeting in a public space to view the product before completing any transaction.
  • Don’t hand over money until you see the item for sale, and use payment options that include strong protections, like PayPal.

Phishing Community standards
Phishing is when a scammer tries to trick people to share their personal information (like bank account numbers and passwords to impersonate or defraud people. These messages can look very real, and some will even pretend to be from Meta asking you to reset your password or appeal a fake ban on your account.

  • Be wary of emails or online messages that ask you to update or verify your details, or try to force you to act quickly (for example, threatening you with the loss of your Facebook or Instagram account.
  • Facebook will never ask you for your password in an email or send you a password as an attachment.
  • Make sure to set up two-factor authentication on all of your accounts.

Family member in need scam
Scammers can go to great lengths to trick people into sharing money or their personal information, like pretending to be a family member who needs help. They can pretend to be someone you know or send a message from an unknown number claiming to be a family member who has lost their phone or has been ‘locked out’ of their account.

If the situation seems strange, be wary. It might be a scam, and your account might have been compromised. Remember to:

  • STOP: Take a few minutes before you respond.
  • THINK: Does this request make sense? Are they asking for money? Remember that scammers prey on people’s kindness, trust, and willingness to help.
  • CALL: Verify that it really is a family member by calling them directly or asking them to share a voice message. Only when you’re 100% sure the request is from someone you know and trust, should you consider it. If it turns out to be untrue, report it to us.

Investment scam
Investment scams are becoming increasingly common and sophisticated in response to the growing interest in purchasing shares and new digital currencies, and the accessibility of online investing. Investment scammers typically try to steal larger amounts of money by tricking people into thinking they’re investing in quick and easy ways to grow their wealth.

Remember:

  • Never share your bank, card details or ID with someone you don’t know and trust.
  • Use unique passwords for different accounts and never share your passwords.
  • And make sure you set up two-factor authentication on all your accounts.

Impersonation scam
Scammers may try to win your trust by impersonating a friend or family member, or a celebrity or business that you follow, to try and convince you of their story. This can result in them tricking you into sending them money or sharing your personal details.

Remember:

  • Look out for verified Facebook or Instagram accounts when entering competitions or sharing information with a brand that approaches you. Verified accounts carry a blue tick.
  • Never share your bank or card details with someone you don’t know and trust.
  • And make sure you set up two-factor authentication on all your accounts.

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Meta Policy AU
Meta Australia Policy Blog

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