Social media platforms like Meta, formerly known as Facebook, have become a gold mine for phishing scams that target ordinary people and trick them into giving up their personal and financial information. These scams often use fake profiles, messages, and ads that impersonate celebrities, influencers, or friends to lure unsuspecting victims into clicking on malicious links or downloading malware.

According to a report by the cybersecurity firm Proofpoint, phishing attacks on social media increased by 74% in the first half of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022. The report also found that Meta was the most popular platform for phishing, accounting for 61% of all social media phishing attacks.

One of the most common types of phishing scams on Meta is the celebrity impersonation scam, where scammers create fake profiles or pages that mimic the appearance and name of a famous person, such as an actor, musician, or athlete. The scammers then use these profiles to send direct messages or post comments to their followers, offering them various rewards or opportunities, such as free gift cards, concert tickets, or charity donations. However, in order to claim these rewards or opportunities, the victims are asked to click on a link that leads them to a fake website that asks them to enter their personal or financial information, such as their name, address, credit card number, or social security number. Alternatively, the link may download malware onto their device that can steal their data or lock their files until they pay a ransom.

Another common type of phishing scam on Meta is the friend impersonation scam, where scammers hack into the accounts of real users and use them to send messages or post comments to their friends, asking them for help or money. For example, the scammers may claim that they are stranded in a foreign country and need money to return home, or that they have a medical emergency and need money for treatment. The scammers then ask their friends to send them money through a wire transfer service or a cryptocurrency wallet, or to click on a link that leads them to a fake website that asks them for their personal or financial information.

These phishing scams can cause significant losses and damages to the victims, who may not only lose their money, but also their identity and privacy. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers reported losing more than $3 billion to fraud in 2022, and more than $1.2 billion of that amount was lost to imposter scams, which include phishing scams.

We advise users to be vigilant and cautious when using social media platforms like Meta. Here are some tips to avoid falling victim to phishing scams: