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‘Quick question’: Warning over creepy Facebook hacking scam

·2-min read
PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 11: In this photo illustration, the logos of social media applications, Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, WeChat, Signal, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter and Snapchat are displayed on the screen of an iPhone on January 11, 2021 in Paris, France. In recent days, many WhatsApp users have migrated to Signal following the modification of WhatsApp's terms of use concerning personal data. WhatsApp has come under fire since Thursday after asking its nearly two billion users to agree to new terms of service, allowing it to share more data with its parent company Facebook. As a result, the Signal messaging application is experiencing a very strong increase in its subscriptions to the point of undergoing saturation phases. (Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)
A new hacking scam is circulating around Facebook Messenger. (Photo illustration by Chesnot/Getty Images)

Australians should be warned to keep an eye out for an insidious social media scam that aims to trick people into giving out their personal information.

The ‘scam’ actually involves a compromised Facebook account that has been taken over by a malicious actor – unbeknownst to the real owner of the Facebook profile.

The hacker, posing as the person, then goes through the victim’s friends list and sends them identical texts over Facebook Messenger.

(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)

Yahoo Finance received multiple variations of the scam, some that read: “Hey, quick question 🙂”.

After the recipient responds, the scammer then sends a series of confusing text messages that don’t quite make sense.

If you agree, the scammer asks you for your mobile number.

This entire time, unsuspecting Facebook users could be under the impression that the messages are nothing more than what it looks like – their fellow Facebook friend or acquaintance messaging them with a small request for help.

But the malicious actor is revealed to be cagey about why the mobile details are needed in the first place.

“Haha it will make sense when u [sic] see it,” the scammer states.

(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)

If Facebook users suspect their friend’s account has been compromised by an attack, they should notify their friend in person or through text or WhatsApp.

Users should also block their friend for the time being and check their privacy settings to ensure any sensitive information is not displayed to the public.

Yahoo Finance understands that by the time the victim was notified about their account being hacked, it was too late.

The hacker had already switched the email address and mobile number of the account, locking the real user out.

Australians lost more than $176 million to scams in 2020 alone.

Of that figure, scams that attempt to gain your personal information amounted to $15,241,953.

Scamwatch has a guide to reporting Facebook posts that are scams.

According to ScamWatch, you should let your family and friends know immediately if you think you’ve been the victim of a scam.

“If you suspect you are a victim of identity theft, it is important that you act quickly to reduce your risk of financial loss or other damages,” ScamWatch stated on its website.

You can also report scams to the ACCC through ScamWatch’s Report a scam page.

Cyber crime should be reported to ReportCyber while fraud and theft should be told to your local police.

Find out more about The Broke Millennials Club’s 6-Week Bootcamp here. And join the conversation on Facebook.

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