Q: I was contacted by someone claiming to want to advertise on my Facebook Business page and they sent me a Business Manager invitation to get started. Is it legit or is it some kind of scam?
A: Scammers have long coveted Facebook Business or Fan Pages and have a variety of ways to trick users into unwittingly giving up control.
What you’re describing is the latest version of their scam that uses the promise of making money to trick users of Facebook Business Pages into giving up administrative control.
It usually starts with a private message from someone claiming to represent advertisers who want to pay you to advertise on your business page.
This can be from a Facebook or Instagram message, as they are usually both connected through the same profile.
Chances are they will use screenshots of legitimate companies or websites to try to convince you that they represent these well-known companies, so you’ll let your guard down.
Why is your business account a target?
Business accounts are controlled by individual user accounts on Facebook, so if a scammer can trick you into becoming an admin of your business page, they can delete you and take full control of it.
This would allow them to post malicious links, scam offers, or whatever they want to take advantage of the trust your followers have in you.
They also know that this is one of the hardest situations to undo through Facebook’s recovery options, giving them plenty of time to run their scams on your customers.
The more followers your page has, the more likely you are to become a target of this scam.
What accepting the invitation will do
If you happen to fall for this very clever scam, you will land on a page that tells you that you are about to enter “the advertisers page” and all you need to do is to verify your Facebook connection.
If you type in your password, you will have provided crooks with everything they need to immediately take control of your page and block you.
They can also prevent you from accessing your personal Facebook account, making recovery even more difficult, if not nearly impossible.
The invite appears to be an invitation to join another page, but it’s actually a ploy that asks for ownership of your page.
In some cases, they may even send you a video showing you step-by-step instructions for accepting their invitation.
Steps to protect your business page
If you configure some of the protection options provided by Facebook in advance, even if you fall for these nifty tricks, you may have a better chance of preventing them from entering or recovering your main account.
The first is two-factor authenticationwhich will force Facebook to send a special code to your phone when it detects a login from a computer, browser, or location it doesn’t recognize, such as when scammers attempt to log in after you having cheated.
The second is to configure your Trusted contactswhich allows you to choose 3 to 5 friends who can help you if you ever lose access to your account.