Last Thursday, Nov. 1, someone contacted me on Facebook Messenger and told me the good news: I won a whopping $800,000!
I didn’t know if it was in Singapore or U.S. dollars, but assuming it’s U.S., it would total to P42,584,800 for an exchange rate of P53.23=US$1.00. That’s a lot of money!
I could do a lot of things with that like giving 10 percent of it as my tithe, paying for my graduate study’s tuition fees, investing in a business, funding my family’s health insurance, going to Israel with my wife, and more. The list goes on and on.
I wondered how they found me. I don’t remember myself joining a lottery, and never did I once joined. So I reviewed the message and it told me that my profile was “randomly selected through electronic mail extraction system” from their company.
That company is no ordinary. It’s Apple’s rival, and they make slick phones: Samsung. Totally cool.
This representative, claimed to be Davis Lucas, asked me if I’m ready to get the money. You bet, I am! But there’s a problem: I know this is a scam and this guy is a scammer.
Sigh, so much for having my first P42 million.
Anyway, internet scams have been a perennial problem since the world went online. According to estimates by Eugene Kaspersky, online fraud has cost the global economy by $100 billion a year, The Guardian reported. And as of this writing, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has estimated a loss of $89,087,643 due to all sorts of scams happening since 2018 started.
It costs so much to be scammed! I was scammed already before, though not through this, so I know how it feels losing something hard-earned.
That said, how did I know that this was a scam?
First, I didn’t know the sender. He’s not even on my Facebook friends list! And I’ve already set my mind to flag any stranger who suddenly sends me a message and claims something.
Second, I didn’t expect myself winning a lottery because I never joined one.
And third, it’s too good to be true. Samsung? C’mon! $800,000 out of nowhere and just informing me on Facebook Messenger? You gotta be kidding me.
Here’s a good rule of thumb to guard ourselves from scammers: If you’re not expecting a message from anybody, leave it. If you’re bothered because the person has your friend’s name and profile picture, verify that to your friend by sending him or her a text message. Now this time, I don’t have a Samsung executive as my Facebook friend; so tough luck, my dear scammer friend.
So now that we know that it’s a scam, what to do next?
As much as you want to make fun of or troll that scammer for spotting his or her obvious lie, stop yourself, because you might end up scammed instead. You see, the scammer who contacted you might have already been in that business for a long time, and perhaps their aim is for you to contact them. You never know what happens next; so don’t communicate with the scammer.
Report the profile to Facebook
Time to unfriend some profiles
Let’s face it. When we first started using Facebook, we accept-all-we-can every time a friend request is sent. However, I realized that this is not healthy and safe.
I’m not saying we ignore friend requests. What I’m saying is to be careful because scammers will go to great lengths just to get our hard-earned cash, and that includes faking a profile by pretending to be your friend, someone you know, or your favorite artist.
To undo the mistakes of the past, go through your list of friends and unfriend profiles that you believe are no longer updated. To be safe, unfriend profiles you don’t recognize.
Increase your privacy on Facebook
We need to do several things to increase our privacy on Facebook. In fact, using Facebook is already a high-risk on our privacy. Case in point: The way it tracks our web activity online even if we’re off from Facebook or even if we do not have an account, according to a report by Newsweek.
After knowing this, I wanted to get off the hook and completely quit Facebook. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy, especially in the Philippines because, hey, we’re the No. 1 Facebook users in the entire world, clocking in an average of four hours and a couple of minutes a day!
Anyway, to increase our privacy, go to profile Settings >>> Privacy and change options there.
And just in case we want to quit Facebook, it won’t be that easy, but we can do it by reducing 1 percent from our daily usage. That’s called the Kaizen approach, and we can use certain app blockers to help us out.
Change the options in Privacy Settings and Tools to a degree where you get the least exposure.
If you want an example, here’s mine:
Change Who can see your future posts? to Friends. If you want to filter some of your already friends on Facebook, then choose Friends except… and type in the names of your Facebook friends you want to filter.
Limit The Audience for Old Posts on Your Timeline >>> click Limit Past Posts. Keep in mind that those posts you allowed to be seen globally in the past will be limited to your Facebook friends only. In other words, they will no longer be seen globally.
How People Find and Contact You
Who can send you friend request? >>> click Friends of Friends. But if you want everyone in the world to add you as a friend, scammers included, then click Everyone. Click at your own risk.
Who can see your friends list? >>> click Only Me. Save your friends from unnecessary exposure.
Who can look you up using the email address you provided? >>> click Friends.
Who can look you up using the phone number you provided? >>> click Friends.
Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile? >>> disable Allow search engines outside of Facebook to link to your profile. This way, when someone types my name on Google or Bing, I wouldn’t be exposed that easily.
Next is Timeline and Tagging. Under this setting, change the following:
Who can post on your timeline? >>> click Friends.
Who can see what others post on your timeline >>> click Only Me.
Who can see posts you’re tagged in on your timeline? >>> click Only Me.
When you’re tagged in a post, who do you want to add the audience of the post if they can’t already see it? >>> click Only Me.
Review posts you’re tagged in before the post appears on your timeline? >>> click Enabled.
Review tags people add to your posts before the tags appear on Facebook? >>> click Enabled.
By all means, change Face Recognition to No.
Public Post Comments >>> Who can comment on your public posts? >>> click Friends.
Public Profile Info >>> Who can like or comment on your public profile pictures and other profile info? >>> click Friends.
Oh, you might want to ask what I did to that David Lucas guy. Well, in Facebook Messenger, I just tapped I DON’T WANT TO HEAR FROM DAVIS >>> Block Davis.
So that’s it! Be safe online!
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