Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family members and friends, but it also used frequently among scammers to identify and communicate with potential victims.

Carl Court

“Scammers are always looking for new ways to take advantage of users over the Internet, and social media sites are not safe zones,” says Paula Fleming, spokesperson for the local Better Business Bureau. “Since social media is so widely used, it is a popular way for scammers to hit users when they are least expecting it.”

According to BBB Scam Tracker, over 700 scams involving Facebook have already been reported to BBB across the U.S. and Canada since the start of this year.

Consumers fall victim to online scams every day, and social media sites are no exception. Avoid falling for Facebook scams with these BBB tips:

Don’t blindly accept friend requests

Be wary of accepting friend requests from people you don’t know. Before accepting a friend request from a stranger, check out their profile. A recently created page with little or no posts or other information may be a fake.

Another thing to look out for is friend requests from someone you thought you were already friends with. Many times scammers create a false version of a friend or family member’s profile to try to gain personal information. If you see a request from someone you are already friends with, contact that person directly and let them know there may be an issue with their account.

Keep your information safe.

Anytime someone tries to get your bank account number, Social Security Number or other sensitive information, that should be an automatic red flag. Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers, or prepaid debit card identification numbers to someone you don’t know.

There is also no need to access financial information, like a credit card number in response to a sweepstakes promotion. Legitimate businesses do not ask for credit card numbers or banking information for coupons or giveaways. If they do ask for personal information, like an address or email, be sure there's a link to their privacy policy.

Report if you fall victim or if you suspect a scam.

Report any fake profiles and fraud attempts to Facebook. You can do this by clicking on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the profile’s cover photo.

If you fall victim to a Facebook scam, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov and report the scam to BBB Scam Tracker and share as many details as possible to warn others in your community.

For more information you can trust, visit bbb.org/boston, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Twitter and Instagram.

This information was submitted to us as part of a press release. If you would like to share your community news or event with our audience, please email newspi@townsquaremedia.com.