Q: I’ve been contacted by someone claiming that they want to advertise on my Facebook business page and they sent me a business manager invite to get started. Is this legit or is this some type of scam?
Scammers have long coveted Facebook business or fan pages and they have a variety of ways to trick users into unwittingly giving up control of them.
What you are describing is the most recent iteration of a scam that uses the promise of making money to trick users of Facebook business pages into giving up administrative control.
It generally starts with a private message from someone claiming they represent advertisers that want to pay you to advertise on your business page. This can come from either a Facebook or Instagram message, since they are generally both connected through the same profile.
It’s likely that they will use screenshots of legitimate companies or websites to try to convince you that they represent these well-known companies so you’ll let your guard down.
Why is your business account a target?
Business accounts are controlled by individual user accounts on Facebook, so if a scammer can trick you into allowing them to become an administrator of your business page, they can remove you and take complete control over it.
This would allow them to post malicious links, fraudulent deals or anything they want to take advantage of the trust your followers have with you.
They also know that this is one of the more difficult situations to undo via Facebook’s recovery options, giving them lots of time to run their scams on your customers.
The more followers your page has, the more likely you’ll become a target of this scam.
What accepting the invitation will do
If you happen to fall for this very clever scam, you’ll land on a page that tells you that you’re about to gain access to “the advertisers” page, and all you need to do is verify your Facebook login.
If you type in your password, you’ll have provided the scammers with all they need to immediately take over your page and lock you out.
They can also lock you out of your personal Facebook account, which makes recovering everything even more difficult if not almost impossible.
The invitation appears to be an invitation to join another page, but it’s really a ploy that’s requesting ownership of your page. In some cases, they may even send you a video showing you the step-by-step instructions for accepting their invitation.
Steps to protect your business page
If you set up some of the protective options Facebook provides ahead of time, even if you fall for these clever tricks, you may have a better chance of keeping them out or recovering your primary account.
The first is two-factor authentication, which will require Facebook to send a special code to your phone when it detects a login from a computer, browser or location that it doesn’t recognize, such as when the scammers try to login after they tricked you.
The second is to set up your Trusted Contacts, which allows you to choose three to five friends who can help you should you ever get locked out of your account.
Ken Colburn is founder and CEO of Data Doctors Computer Services. Ask any tech question on Facebook or Twitter.
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