The latest Facebook scam gets your attention with intriguing titles about "shocking," "exclusive," or "breaking news" stories. The messages may appear as posts from your friends, which provides an incentive to trust the accompanying link.
However, when you click, a number of things may happen:
You get asked to give permissions to an app that will play the video. This app may create automatic posts in your profile that ask others to view it.
You get asked to take a survey before you're shown the video. The information collected is sent to marketers who use it to bother you with phone calls, emails, or other unwanted contact.
You get asked to upgrade your video software.The downloaded "upgrade" may actually be malware that can infect your computer with a virus.
You never see the video because there really isn't one. However, there may be an image that matches the headline and includes the familiar "play" (triangle pointing to the right) icon.
Rule number one in avoiding this scam is, "Don't be fooled." If the headline seems too fantastic to be true, it probably is. Remember that legitimate video sources want views on their sites, and will not prevent you from accessing them with requests for you to download software or provide personal information. If you have to jump through any hoops before seeing the video, it's probably not worth the effort, and could even be harmful to your privacy or your computer.
If you do get trapped before you realize what's happening, be sure to remove any posts you personally didn't put on your profile, and also remove any apps you've given permissions to. Finally, if you really can't resist seeing the "shocking" video about a zookeeper swallowed by a snake, leave Facebook and search for it on YouTube or Google.
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