It’s the 3rd quarter of the University of Connecticut vs. Baylor NCAA Women’s Basketball playoff game. My Lady Huskies are struggling against the Bears with the score seesawing back and forth.
That’s when I receive an email saying my Facebook account was going to be deleted due to copyright infringements. I have 48 hours to appeal the decision.
I freak out!
Facebook advertising is how I introduce my blog to new readers. In fact, I’m not 100% focussed on the game because I’m monitoring the performance of a new ad campaign during the timeouts, and that is how I happen to see the email.
Splitting my attention between the game and my Facebook panic attack, I do what I usually do to see if I am being scammed: I check the email address of the sender. Usually it’s bogus and I can spot a phony quickly.
It looks fine. It’s from a facebook.com address and the extension looks like a tracking code that Facebook uses.
5:08 to go in the 3rd quarter
Grammar. Just about every phishing email I’ve ever seen has at least one grammatical error. This one does not. No spelling errors, either.
I realize I’m being distracted from the game. I know I can respond after the game is over, but this is bothering me.
End of the 3rd quarter
So I click on the ‘Appeal’ button. It takes me to a new page where I enter my name, email address and birthday. I explain why I believe an error has been made and click ‘Submit.’
Then it asks me to log in to Facebook. Since I don’t know it offhand, I have to look up my password.
While doing so, it occurs to me that it’s strange to first submit information and then log in. I look at the page again. It’s no longer a Facebook ID. Something isn’t right.
I check my Facebook page. There is no similar warning there. My ad is still running. I can post to it, even though the warning email says my access is blocked.
BINGO…It’s a phishing scam after all!
I assess the damage and decide I haven’t revealed any information that someone could not easily get elsewhere, so I don’t bother to change my Facebook password. I block the original sender from my email account.
Thinking about it, I’m disappointed in my reaction to what just happened. I consider myself pretty savvy when it comes to spotting internet scams, yet I fell for this one. I did my standard due diligence, but I didn’t think it through before I reacted. That’s a pretty big mistake.
It was a failure of executive functioning: the ability to organize and sequence your thoughts, to look at things from different perspectives, and to consider the pros and cons of a situation and give them appropriate weights in order to make a judgement. It involves not only searching for evidence that confirms your belief, but looking for and considering contradictory evidence. I didn’t do that.
I didn’t consider the fact that if Facebook had spotted a copyright infringement or some other violation of their policies, they would have taken down the post, not the entire page, especially on a first offense. And they would have notified me on Facebook, not via email. But in the moment, I was swept up in the fear of losing my account, and my emotions hijacked my thinking, resulting in a first-class error.
So I’ve added ‘judgement’ to my list of things to keep an eye on as I dribble down the road to nowhere.
The good news? UConn won, 69-67, and advanced to the Final Four!
Enjoy this post? Enter your email address below to have all future posts sent directly to your inbox. Be there for every stop along the journey…and best of all…it’s free!