Ever got a message from a friend asking for money? They’re in an urgent situation and need your help?

Perhaps you’re familiar with those more random messages from a name you don’t recongise telling you about some “claim to cash” or similar that just makes you think “hmm.. maybe I should click that link or hand over some info to this person”

Or worse, makes you worry about your elderly relatives on Facebook who might not second guess those messages.

Well, good news. Facebook is taking this seriously and cracking down.

Using smarts build into the messaging platform, Messenger will now attempt to alert you to both styles of scam.

Jay Sullivan, Director of Product Management, Messenger Privacy and Safety says “Privacy, safety and security are fundamental to Messenger. We work hard to ensure Messenger is a safe place to connect with the people who matter most while also protecting their privacy (learn more), and today, I’m excited to announce a new safety feature that will help millions of people avoid potentially harmful interactions and possible scams without
compromising their privacy.”

“Our strategy to keep people safe on Messenger focuses not only on giving them the information and controls they need to prevent abuse from happening, but also on detecting it and responding quickly if it occurs. We’re introducing safety notices in Messenger that will pop up in a chat and provide tips to help people spot suspicious activity and take action to block
or ignore someone when something doesn’t seem right. We started rolling this feature out on Android in March and will bring this to more people around the world on iOS next week.

Firstly, impersonation. It’s a known problem where scammers set up a new profile, stealing the name and profile pic of a real Facebook account, then try to contact all that real account’s friends.

You’re more likely to fall for it if the account profile and name rings a bell right?

No More!

You’ll get this:

Unless by some freak of circumstances your friend had to start a whole new account and is getting back in touch – this is a scammer.

Likewise, strange messages from randoms. Facebook is onto that.

Smart stuff, rolling out across Messenger over the coming weeks. Hopefully, you never need it – but, let’s be honest, they’re not exactly uncommon, so well done Facebook – this is a win for the little guy.