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Facebook can be a great place to stay in touch with family, connect with old and new friends and read or be entertained by the latest funny cat video.

But although Facebook can be a great place to digitally connect with those you care about, it is also an easy way for scamsters to try to gain access to people’s personal information.

RELATED: Warning: Thieves can steal your information while you’re waiting in line

In case you missed any, here are the top worst Facebook scams of 2016!

1. Facebook scammers pretending to be your friends and family


Dating as far back as when social networking websites began, scammers have joined posing as other people, attempting to gain access to your personal or financial information. This also happened with popular country musicians!

If you’ve received a Facebook friend request from a friend or family member you’re already friends with, don’t click!

2. The Facebook privacy scam

This scam claims that you must make a statement similar to the below to protect your posts, photos, or messages on Facebook.

fb-scam

But, according to Snopes, this is a hoax! Facebook has always had the same policy — and that is to keep your privacy intact.

3. Facebook charging you money

“Now it’s official! It has been published in the media. Facebook has just released the entry price: £5.99 to keep the subscription of your status to be set to “private”. If you paste this message on your page, it will be offered free (I said paste not share) if not tomorrow, all your posts can become public. Even the messages that have been deleted or the photos not allowed. After all, it does not cost anything for a simple copy and paste.”

Sometimes messages like the above go viral and dupe people into thinking Facebook is going to charge you to either continue using its service, or requiring payment to keep your information private.

But, nothing could be further from the truth! Facebook states, “Facebook is free and always will be.”

4. The Christmas gift exchange scam

This scam makes the round during the holidays and claims that a person can get up to 36 gifts from other people if they agree to buy a single gift worth $10.

But police in Cookeville, Tennessee warn that “The gift exchange is a modern version of the chain letter scheme and is illegal.”

RELATED: It looked like he received a $2,000 secret shopper check from Walmart, but it turned out to be a big scam

5. Fake giveaway scams

southwest-scam

Sometimes you might see a post that says if you share the post, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win free airline tickets, free goodie bags, a new car or even a new home!

But you’ll want to be extra careful about these scams, as fraudsters like to set up fake Facebook accounts with enticing giveaways only to try to steal your personal information for their gain.

Fake giveaways have involved brands like Southwest and Delta, but the giveaway scams have nothing at all to do with these well-known companies.

6. The sketchy retailers scam

retail-scam

If you love to get a great deal, you’re probably always looking for retailers that offer amazing prices. But, when shopping online, you’ll need to exercise your deal-hunting sense with a good dose of caution.

RELATED: Warning: This fake Amazon email will steal your information

Facebook often displays ads on the right hand side of your newsfeed or within the newsfeed itself. But though Facebook does it’s best to try to filter fake companies from being allowed to advertise, sometime sketchy retailers can fall through the cracks. These can either be companies that offer you a product and take your money without delivery, or a company that promises a product that is way different than the item that arrives on your doorstep.

7. Fake coupon or gift card scams

Whether it’s Aldi, Publix, Kroger, Dollar General, Kohl’s, Belk, or any other popular retailer, criminals like to set up fake coupons to get people to click on a malicious website that then asks for your personal information in exchange for the coupon or voucher.

The trouble is, these coupons are often fake! Remember: If an offer seems to good to be true, it probably is.

How to avoid scams on Facebook

  • Do not accept friend requests from people you’re already friends with on Facebook, or from well-known celebrities. These are likely scamsters trying to take advantage of you!
  • If you see a message going viral about Facebook charging for its service, this is most likely fake, as Facebook has promised to always keep its service free. But, you can always consult the official Facebook forums or the official Facebook blog to see is there is any validity to any claim made about Facebook.
  • For ads promoting a great deal on Facebook, be sure to go directly to the company’s website to check it out, and search for the company on the Better Business Bureau online here.
  • For giveaways or coupons, go to the company’s Facebook page and see if the offer is posted there. If it’s a large company (most of these fraudulent posts target big companies that are well-known), you’ll want to be sure it’s the company’s verified page. A verified page has this symbol directly to the right of the company name:  Watch out for this Southwest scam on Facebook
  • If it is not posted, look on the company’s official website, and see if there are any details on the offer or promotion there.
  • If the coupon or giveaway is not posted in either of those places, it is likely not legitimate, but you could also contact the company directly to know for sure.
Charis Rebecca Brown, Clark.com |