If you use Facebook you’re probably used to receiving cute and funny videos in instant messages (IMs).
And of course there are political videos and a wide variety of other types of videos being shared via IMs as well.
Truth be told, we all get them on a regular basis.
Dozens of videos land in my IM inbox every day, but I never click on any of them. And I strongly recommend that you avoid clicking on them as well.
Many of these seemingly harmless videos are actually quite dangerous because they have viruses attached to them. If you take the bait and attempt to watch one of them, your computer or Android device could become infected. And that could easily ruin your entire day.
Well, there’s a Facebook video scam making the rounds that’s just as dangerous.
In this scam you don’t receive the video directly in your IM inbox. Instead, you’re sent what appears to be a link to YouTube so you can watch the video there.
But there’s a problem: That “YouTube” link won’t take you to YouTube.com at all. If you click on it you’ll actually end up on a very realistic-looking, but fake Facebook login page.
Many users try to login to their Facebook account using the form on the fake login page without giving it a second thought, but all they accomplish is handing over their Facebook login information to the scammers.
Luckily, this is a very easy scam to avoid. All you have to do is NEVER click on a link to a video that’s sent to you in a Facebook instant message. Just don’t do it.
And you shouldn’t click on any actual videos you receive in IMs either because they’re just as dangerous.
I know you have friends that you trust completely – friends who would never intentionally send you a malicious link or video.
But with all the phishing and malicious apps going around these days you can never really be sure if an IM was sent by your friend or by a hacker or a malicious app.
And here’s another thing to consider: Messaging your friend to ask if he/she really sent the video is dangerous as well, for this reason…
If a hacker has taken control of your friend’s account and is using it to send out malicious messages and links, messaging that friend asking if the email or link is safe will simply result in the hacker (not your friend) replying to tell you “Why yes, of course it’s safe!).
At the very least, your friend could just be forwarding a link or video to you that he/she received from a friend they trusted. Regardless of your friend’s good intentions, a video or link they forward to you could end up causing you all kinds of grief.
Bottom line: Protect both your Facebook account and your device from hackers by refusing to click on links and videos that show up in your IM inbox out of the blue.
In my opinion it’s better to miss out on something good on occasion than run the risk of having your Facebook account hacked or your computer or mobile device catching a virus. And you definitely don’t need to end up handing over your Facebook login information to a hacker!
And now one final recommendation…
For all the reasons mentioned above, don’t forward IMs containing videos or links to videos to any of your friends because that just helps the hackers perpetuate their scams. Just delete those messages and be done with them.
Bonus tip: This post offers several tips for protecting your Facebook account from hackers.