I knew something was up when one of my buddies (who’s a slender 150 lbs. or so) posted on my wall that he was trying a new weight loss product. Scamware. I hate it. I can’t stand spyware, adware, scamware, malware…any ware for that matter. Crooked companies and affiliate commission-hungry cyber-geeks are getting awfully clever at pushing their products. It’s all a scam.
Clicking on this so-called sponsored weight loss product (I knew it was a scam – I just wanted to know which cyber-creep was preying on perfectly content Facebookers who don’t necessarily need another headache) led me to a page promoting acai berry supplements. Ah, that stuff again. Really, haven’t we seen enough about acai berries? Ironically, I’ve seen this same advertising website and variations of it by clicking on the roly-poly woman drawing ad that are on LEGITIMATE sites. Have you seen those!? Something isn’t right here…so I’m going to research that a bit more (I’ll post a picture soon to jog your memory. I’m sure you’ve seen them).
But back to Facebook. If you’re a Facebooker who clicks on app requests, invites, good deals, quizzes or the occasional “I know something sexy about you or I have a secret about you” app – I’d be careful. I don’t tend an herb garden in Farmville, ‘off’ people in Mafia Wars, gobble up deals on Groupon, or click on anything outside of what I do on a day to day basis with Facebook: read posts, seek out people or post rambling thoughts. If you do any of the former, I’d be careful. More than likely that’s how this scamware spreads – a bit of code embedded in an app or ad that reads your friend list and systematically posts to their walls – many times starting with the letter “A” and working it’s way down.
What if it’s too late? Here are a few ideas to get your account straightened out (thanks to FaceCrooks.com):
1. Attempt to Reclaim your Account -If your account has been hacked, but you can still access your Facebook login email address, then you can reclaim your account by resetting the password here: http:facebook.com/reset.php. You may also use the “Forgot your password?” link on the Facebook sign on screen. If you know the hacker changed the email address you use to log in to your Facebook account, report the issue to Facebook with this link: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=1011#!/help/?page=1023. They will investigate the matter and attempt to restore your account.
2. Change your Passwords – The hacker obviously gained access to your email address and password somehow, so you need to make sure you change the password to your email address immediately. If you use the same password to access other accounts, especially banking, financial institutions, and other email addresses, etc., then make sure to change those passwords immediately as well. Assume the hacker gained complete access to the email account you use to access Facebook. Carefully assess the impact of the compromise and try to do as much damage control as possible.
3. Scan your Computer – It is likely that the hacker gained entry to your computer through a virus or other malware. Make sure you have a current and up-to-date anit-virus program installed on your computer, and do a thorough scan of your system. If you accessed your Facebook account from another computer, then let the owner of that computer know of the attack. They will need to scan their machine as well. Buying a Mac helps in this case. (:
4. Notify your Friends & Family – Getting hacked can be an embarrassing and humiliating experience, but don’t let this discourage you from notifying your friends and family of the incident. The hacker may use your account to send them malicious links and to phish for their personal information as well. By alerting them immediately, you can help them avoid the same situation you have found yourself in.
Lastly, don’t freak out. It may take a little bit of time and effort to correct the situation, but quick action on your part can help to minimize the damage caused by the incident and help get things back to normal.