Ask Amy: You may be sharing scams on social media without knowing it

A lot of us love sharing stories and content on social media. But we’ve got a warning: you may be sharing scams with your friends without even knowing it. Fraudsters are tricking people into sharing their suspicious links and scams.

Common trick: Missing pets or missing child posts

A really common example of this is missing pets or missing people posts. You may feel inclined to just share those to help find the person or animal. But a lot of those aren’t real. After we all share it the scammer then edits the post to something entirely different.

So, suddenly that post about a missing pet shared all over Facebook is now an ad for something. One KPRC viewer asked Amy why this happens. She shared a Barbie movie quote and a few days later she noticed the content of the post changed and it was now an advertisement for a quilt website.

How thieves use Facebook posts to trick you into entering personal information. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Unless you scroll back or someone lets you know, you may not even know the new content is now on your page and it’s already been shared with all of your followers. A good rule of thumb is to avoid sharing something unless you know the person.

Join a new group for school? Here’s another warning

If you are joining new school groups right now you may not know a lot of people yet. One of our producers is in a new group school page and ads like this keep showing up on the feed. The link appears to be a shirt order form, but it is fake.

How thieves use Facebook posts to trick you into entering personal information. (Copyright 2023 by KPRC Click2Houston - All rights reserved.)

Scammers want you to click on that link and make an order. Of course, then enter your credit card information. This time someone put the fake merchandise link in the comments of a picture on a youth sports page.

What to do if you click on a fake weblink

A few quick ways you can check if a post is fake. Check the profile. If it is a new profile or someone with very few friends, it may be a fake account.

  • If you accidentally clicked on the link just close it right away.
  • You should be okay if you didn’t actually enter personal information but just in case, change the password for the website you were on when you clicked.
  • Also, update your phone with the latest operating system, there may be security updates.

Here’s more from the Federal Trade Commission on how to protect yourself against fake websites. Facebook also has a few guidelines about spam.

About the Authors:

Award-winning TV producer and content creator. My goal as a journalist is to help people. Faith and family motivate me. Running keeps me sane.

Passionate consumer advocate, mom of 3, addicted to coffee, hairspray and pastries.