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New ways for you to ‘like’ or ‘react’ on Facebook gives scammers new tools to fool you

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DENVER -- You no longer have to “Like” something on Facebook in order to engage with a post, but the addition of new “Reactions” is also giving scammers a new way to fool people.

The FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers talked to a cyber-security expert about “Like-farming” and why the problem is poised to grow even more.

As CEO of Security Pursuit, Steve Fox, has seen plenty of ways in which people can be fooled, scammed and hacked online, but he says “Like-farming” begins as a simple popularity contest.

“They`ve utilized your (Like), to gain popularity,” Fox said. “They are then going to take that popularity to attack other users.”

Fox said the bad guys start by posting something popular, not dangerous, to gain trust. A photo or story might encourage people to “Like” or “Share” in order to show support for a person or stand up for a political cause. But once the posts go viral, or hit a certain number of Likes, the bad guys will add something malicious to the corresponding page or begin a phishing scam.

“Any web page that has been booby trapped by an attacker has the potential of infecting your computer,” Fox said.

Though the scam isn't new, now that Facebook added “Reactions” users have new ways to engage with posts and scammers have new ways to prey on them.

“Whether you Like something or you (add an angry emoji), you`ve acknowledged that that article resonated with you in some way,” Fox said.

Steve says the best way to avoid “Like-farming” is to be a careful consumer.

“I would only like pages that are from trusted sources,” Fox said. “Think before you click.”

There is a way to check your own Facebook history to see if you’ve been fooled by “Like-farming”. Go to the dropdown menu on the top, right side of your page and click on “Activity Log”.

You can search every item that you have ever Liked. If you see a page or post that you don’t remember Liking, there is a chance that it began as something else but was later changed by “Like-farming.”