Fraudsters are taking full advantage of the interest surrounding the Royal Baby to target Facebook users. 

The scam appears as a link on Facebook, similar to something one of your friends might share on their timeline, promising “exclusive footage” of the new-born. However, for those who do click the link, they are told in order to view the video they need to update their video player before they can watch the exclusive footage.

When users download the file, they are actually downloading a virus that scans their computers for private information like bank account details and credit card numbers. It also shares the fake viral post to the users Facebook friends, allowing the scammers to target more people.

Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate at Spoke to the Mirror Online: “Fake video player updates are among the most common types of malicious ads that prey on web users. This scheme in particular leverages people’s inherit trust in their Facebook friends to get them to click through and install a bogus update. Even if you trust your Facebook friends, you should always treat unsolicited links with scepticism, because you never know when someone’s account has been hacked.”

Facebook users are being advised to use their judgement before clicking on any links that look too good to be true. If you think your friends account may have been hacked, message the friend who shared the link and ask them for more information about where it came from. They will be grateful to you or alerting them to the fact their account may have been hijacked.

If you do see suspicious links like the Baby Sussex scam, or any other links that can potentially harm your friends or followers, reporting the post is one of the best things you can do. Doing this doesn’t harm the friend who shared the post (if anything, it may help them out) and can protect both of your friend groups from falling victim to these rapidly spreading phishing schemes.

How to protect your Facebook account.

Protect your profile picture – Your profile picture is used as a primary tool for identification on social media. Trouble is, anyone can create a fake Facebook account using your name and even your actual profile picture. To stop this from happening, Facebook has added a feature called ‘Profile picture guard’. You can access this through your settings.

Make your friends authenticators – If Facebook detects an unrecognised login or hacking attempt, it will lock down your account, and you wouldn’t be able to access it. The process to regain access to your account used to be a long one and complicated one, but now Facebook allows you to simply choose up to five trusted friends who can help you regain access to your account.

Manage your Facebook data – In the Facebook Information page, you also have a shortcut to ‘Manage your data’. When you access this feature, you need to select if you want to manage data on Facebook or Instagram. For Facebook, you get advanced control on how and where Facebook uses any of your data. You can manage your location data, control contacts uploaded to Facebook, face recognition setting, ad preference and various other features.

Know which devices you use – Under Settings Security and Login, Facebook shows a section called ‘Where you’re logged in’. This section lists all the devices (laptop, phone, tablet etc.) on which you have logged in to your Facebook account. Remove any devices you don’t recognise or don’t have access to anymore. If you’re unsure of the status of certain devices, use the ‘Log out of all sessions’ option, and log in afresh. This will ensure no one else has access to your Facebook account.