3 Facebook scams happening right now

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You know what to expect when you visit Facebook. There are pictures, comments, videos and news stories posted by your friends and family. You'll see their newborn babies, cute puppies, and read about their job promotions and cross-country moves, and a lot more. However, sometime there are unexpected posts that catch your eye.

It may be a McDonald's coupon, where the fast-food company is giving away free food. It could be a beautiful photograph of Big Ben in London, with a message from a major airline promising a chance for you to win a trip. What luck!

Of course, you're no dummy. As much as you want to bite, you know scammers are trying to trick you into clicking on a link to their malicious site. If you do, they'll cleverly ask you for your personal information, sometimes including your online bank credentials and Social Security number.

So, what do you do? You avoid the phony post and report it to Facebook.

The problem is, a lot of really smart people are still falling for Facebook scams. That's because scammers know that you know what they're up to. So, they're always upping their game with posts that look like a reputable company sent them.

Here are three really clever Facebook scams that are fooling a lot of people right now. Unfortunately, once a scammer's got your information, you're going to have a really hard time getting your ID back. Worse, the scammers could infect your computer with spyware or ransomware.

So, protect yourself. Be on the lookout for these three Facebook scams.

1. Profile reported for abuse

When you're on your computer, or need to get your workday started, there's nothing more alarming than an alert. Your heart sinks if you see anything like "error." It means your whole morning's shot, while you try to solve the problem or find someone who can.

Which is precisely why scammers use messages that resemble real alerts. They know you'll react. For instance, if you received an email like the ones below, you'd stop in your tracks.

These are pretty convincing emails that look like they're from Facebook, saying other users have reported you for abuse. Some messages use Facebook's logo.

After the scammers get your attention, their phishing scam is underway. They may ask you to input your name, email address, phone number and password. Then, they'll ask you for your credit card information.

Note: Do you know how to spot a phishing email? Check out these red flags.

If you get one of these, just ignore it. In situations where someone does report you for abuse, Facebook will look over the case and if it agrees that a photo or post you made is a problem it will remove it. To dispute, you'll need to call Facebook or deal with them through Facebook's messaging system. It won't ask you to send back information.

2. Free flights

One of the most enduring Facebook scams is the free flight message. You see professional-looking posts from airlines like British Airways promising you free flights. All you have to do is click on a link. It takes you to a malicious site that looks legit, where you input your personal information.

Cybercriminals then steal your identity. Which they use to open credit cards, make purchases and get loans for expensive things like cars or vacations.

You probably hear alarm bells when you read "free flights," so you just move on. But these posts look like they're created by a reputable airline, so a lot of people click on the offer. Right now, be on the lookout for Facebook posts promising from flights from JetBlue and other airlines.

Do you know how to spot a malicious website? One way is to look at the domain name. If you find yourself on a site that has nothing to do with a reputable airline's site, click off of it.

Then, report the scam to the BBB and to Facebook. From the Facebook homepage, click on the down arrow in the upper-right corner. Click Report a Problem and select Abusive Content. Follow the instructions for the problem you're having.

A variation of this scam sends simply asks you to like the airline's Facebook page or the post. This sets you up for a like-farming scam. Find out why like-farming is such a problem.

You can tell if you're on the airline's official page because it should have the right name and a blue "verified" checkmark next to it.

Be sure to hover your mouse over the checkmark to be sure it's really verified and not just a part of the background image. If the page isn't verified, then you're looking at a scam.

3. Fake love interest

It's bad enough that scammers try to steal your ID and money. But it's worse when they pretend to be someone who cares about you, or even loves you.

The way this Facebook scam works is familiar, but convincing. A guy sends you a message, saying he'd like to chat. You look at his profile and see a handsome guy. You read more and find out that he's in the military and stationed thousands of miles away.

Your intuition tells you he's too good to be true. But, then he surprises you with a phone call. Sooner or later, for one reason or another, he'll ask for money.

Don't fall for it. A TV news anchor in Texas recently found out that he was on the opposite side of this problem. A scammer was using his profile photo to trick women into sending him money.

Note: There's good news here. If someone on Facebook is asking you for money, or to have a conversation, copy his profile picture, then search for it in Google Images.

(Right-click your mouse on his photo and choose Save Image As, and then save it in your Pictures folder. Open Google, click on Images on the upper-right corner of the page, click on camera icon and click Upload, then browse for his photo. You may discover that he isn't who he says he is.)

RELATED: Facebook through the years:

33 PHOTOS
Facebook over the years
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3 Facebook scams happening right now

The original Facebook homepage from 2004 with a small picture of Al Pacino in the top left corner.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Mark Zuckerberg originally described himself as not only the founder of Facebook, but also as the "Master and Commander" and "Enemy of the State."

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Here's what a Facebook group page looked like in 2005.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

For comparison, this is what a Facebook group page looks like today.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

The Facebook homepage in 2005 also listed all of the schools the social network was in -- and still included the photo of Al Pacino.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

The company decided to drop the "the" from its name in 2005, after it bought the domain Facebook.com for $200,000.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

We love this gem about "poking" from one of the original FAQ pages.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook's homepage in 2006 was a stripped-back affair, doing away with the list of schools in favor of a simple login option.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Mark Zuckerberg's profile in 2006.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook launched the News Feed to display all your friends' activity in a single timeline in 2006.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

At the same time, Facebook introduced the Mini-Feed. But the entire concept of a News Feed resulted in some very public outrage. Some users even went so far to call one of Facebook's product managers the devil.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook's 2007 homepage contained the first instance of its now-synonymous logo and offered the "latest news" from friends.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

The Facebook of 2008 continued to refine the homepage and offered options for signing up.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Facebook gained the "connected world" diagram in 2009, which lasted all the way until 2011.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

In 2009, Facebook's home page also got a facelift. Posts started to stream through the News Feed in real-time.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

That same year, Facebook also introduced its algorithm for determining the order in which status updates should be displayed.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook changed its logo font in 2010 but left the homepage much the same.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

2010 was also when Facebook brought notifications to the top navigation bar following yet another redesign.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook also rolled out a new, more visual profile in 2010. It added a row of recently tagged images below your name and basic profile information.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook left the design the same in 2011, but made the input boxes used to log in clearer.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Facebook launched the News Ticker in 2011 so users could keep up with their friends while browsing through other parts of Facebook.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

The Facebook Timeline feels like it's been around since the beginning. But it launched in 2011 to act as a virtual timeline of your entire life.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook also split its instant messaging into a different app called Messenger in 2011. It's now got more than 800 million monthly users.

Photo courtesy: iTunes

Facebook swapped out the connected world diagram for a phone in 2012 as its users moved from desktop to mobile. Today, over 800 million people access Facebook on mobile everyday.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Facebook started flooding the News Feed with sponsored stories in January 2012.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook settled on a design in 2013 that it would stay with for the next few years.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

This is what Facebook's mobile app looked like when it first launched.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

It has since been completely redesigned.

Photo courtesy: WayBack Machine

Facebook also owns a bunch of other popular apps, most notably Instagram, which the company bought for $1 billion in 2012. With more than 400 million monthly users, that seems like a steal nowadays.

Photo courtesy: Business Insider

2015 was a big year for Facebook that saw its first ever day with one billion users online simultaneously. The company had figured out how to make money from mobile too, turning it into a $300 billion business.

Photo courtesy: Max Slater-Robins/WayBack Machine

Today, more than 1.5 billion people use the social network every single month.

Photo courtesy: Facebook

And more than 1.4 billion people use it on their mobile phones every month. Not bad, considering 12 years ago smartphones didn't even exist.

Photo courtesy: Facebook

Here's the Facebook homepage today, on its 12th birthday.
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