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Don't Fall for These Scammy Facebook Posts

Christina M. Ward is a freelance writer, CBD living & wellness blogger living in the sun-shiny state of South Carolina.

Have You Seen These Facebook Ads?

If you've clicked on them, you know exactly what I am talking about.

Those ads you click on for financial advice, raising your credit, and “try this” schemes — all designed to sell you something, distract you, and yes, weasel you out of your hard-earned money.

If you’re not careful you find yourself having signed up for one of those fun little 7-day trials you'll likely forget to cancel or ordering some product you didn't even know you needed.

Ads Pop Up Targeting Your Financial Vulnerabilities

These types of ads take advantage of you, assuming that because your credit score is less-than-stellar, then you must be gullible.

If you have recently searched online for any of the following, you could be targeted by these types of "financial advice" ads which are nothing more than scammy posts meant to take advantage of you:

  • You've shopped online.
  • You've researched any financial terms.
  • You've visited financial websites or checked up on your investments.
  • You've typed in anything regarding a mortgage, savings, or credit.

In other words, if you have financial things on your mind and that shows in your browsing activities, then your Facbook feed could become a land mine for avoiding financial scams.

Facebook Scam Ads in Action

This morning over coffee I did what hundreds of thousands of Americans do each morning. I checked my Facebook. An ad got in the way of my scrolling experience — proudly boasting that if your credit score is less than 700 then you can raise it up 300 points by doing these 10 incredibly easy things.

Sounds good, right?

Well, my credit’s pretty good but I do want to buy a house…so, I clicked. I wasn’t prepared.

I scanned the article. It was a sad excuse for an article and one not even trying to hide its sleaze…yet people were missing the point altogether (as evidenced by the commentary on the article).

Want to know what half those “pieces of advice” were to lure unsuspecting people…I mean teach them about raising their credit scores?

  • You need Credit Seasame.
  • Here, check out this awesome video game. (That was actually one of the points. It was never made clear how playing that video game had anything to do with credit.)
  • Download these other things that you need right now. (None of which had anything to do with credit scores.)
  • By the way, you need Credit Sesame. (Literally mentioned 20+ times in the article.)

With a few small pieces of actual advice, this article was able to sandwich a whole lot of sleazy advertising tactics for people out there simply trying to raise their credit scores.

How to Protect Yourself From Scam Ads

They want you to sign up for things, provide your email or credit card information for a purchase, and unless you really research, then you could be giving out your information to the wrong people.

Like internet thieves, hackers, and scammers.

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These types of ads take advantage of you, assuming that because your credit score is less-than-stellar, then you must be gullible.

So, how do you know you’ve been had? Better yet — how can you avoid being had altogether? Well, let’s get into that.

Read Critically

When you click on any type of ad or article, like the one I mentioned above, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from sly advertising techniques aimed at your wallet. The article I read was so full of advertising bull wrapped in the “guise” of a helpful article…that the article was practically salivating at all the stupidity it was encountering.

After a quick scroll through the comments, it was abundantly clear there are a great many people out there who don’t know how to read critically and often miss the point.

The comments section argued for some 200K comments about the initial claim: that if your credit score is less than 700 then you can raise it up 300 points by doing these 10 incredibly easy things. The argument was all about what is the highest credit score you can have and how you can’t add 300 to 700 and get a credit score that exists.

Well, while all you folks are arguing, the sly writers of this advertising copy are hoping to part you from your hard-earned money and you are none-the-wiser.

Step one in protecting your wallet is to pay attention. Read critically and look for the signs that you may need to exit out of that screen and forget you ever clicked.

Scroll the Article Before You Click Anything

First, take a quick look around. If you see tons of ads, then the article-hosting site is merely writing clickbaity articles that attract heavy traffic to their site. The whole point is to bring in as many viewers and readers as possible so that a small percentage of those folks will click on the paid ads.

But you may not see a whole lot of ads if the advertising tactic is a little more sneaky.

It’s probably easiest to explain with an example. As a freelance writer, I am contacted by Company X to write an article entitled 10 Ways to Increase Your Credit Score.

Company X asks me to make sure to link to a particular business or product and will stipulate how many times this needs to be mentioned in the article. They may even tell me what keywords need to be present in the article and how many times.

Clearly, the job of the article is not to inform the public of ways to improve their credit score but to try and get clicks onto a product or service that Company X is selling.

So, if you can learn to look for those links which are strategically placed throughout the article you can often figure out what it is that that article is trying to sell.

When you see an abundance of links all going to the same place, it is likely that the article serves two purposes. One is to increase web traffic to a certain keyword (often the name of the company being advertised) so that the company can find better placement on Google. And second, of course, they want to direct traffic to the company, website, or product being promoted.

As a consumer, you need to be able to recognize when an article is providing sound advice from a reputable company that has a product or service that could actually help you, and these smokescreen articles which are cleverly designed to part you from your money.

Do Your Research

Take the time to research the host of whatever article you are reading. Check out the company’s reputation and the authenticity of what you are reading. Of course, if the article is hosted by some scammy site that advertises anything and everything in the world, then their bottom line is to separate you from your money.

Another important thing to understand is that many of these articles are written by people who have absolutely no idea what they are writing about. I know this because I’ve been contacted by companies to do this kind of work many times. I actually have an extra fee that I charge when I need to do extra research in order to complete the job. But not all writers will do this. Some will take the job and make the money whether they are knowledgeable on the subject matter or not.

Furthermore, the company may provide their own research or require the writer to write with a certain perspective that would taint the authenticity of the writing. Many writers refuse to take jobs that are aimed at taking advantage of the consumer but there are people out there who just want to make money. You, as a consumer, need to be aware of who is writing what you are reading, and what company is hosting that article so you can make sure the information you are reading is credible.

Research the Promoted Product

There are lots of fantastic products and services out there being advertised through Facebook and other social media. This is not to knock every single one of those. Companies need to find ways of getting their products and services out there and into the attention span of potential consumers.

Take a look at the reviews of the product. Look for a credible website that has reviews and an easy way to contact the company. If you can’t find these things — do not order from the company no matter how must-have-it the product may be.

Pay Attention to Your Accounts!

If you’ve clicked on something and later thought it may not have been a good idea, there are a few things to watch out for:

  • Warning emails from your financial institutions. (Change your passwords and contact your bank.)
  • Suspicious activity on your financial accounts. (Change your passwords and contact your bank.)
  • Spammy phone calls. (Block them.)
  • Unwanted newsletters or advertising coming into your inbox. (Unsubscribe.)
  • And if you’ve placed orders and later thought the company fraudulent, make a report with what information you have.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Christina M Ward

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