Social Media Scam – Are they Even Real?
Around half of the world population are the regular user of the social media sharing their pictures, thoughts, and making new friends and meeting new people. But are you safe? Is your data on the internet through these social networks secure enough? Are you a victim of Social Media Scam?
Social media has become a huge part in people’s life, but it has also become a tool to fraudsters to take advantage of people. But after all the security and safety, how do hackers manage to retrieve the personal data without letting the victim know? Scams are common, but the techniques these scammers use varies from person to person. Let’s find out.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn have become an essential part for many investors. Fraudsters use social media and make efforts to appear genuine yet use the smart feature of being anonymous. Social media helps these hackers reach their target audience at low cost and lesser efforts.
Types of Social Media Scam
Free Gift Card and Lottery Scam
Frequently, you will come across posts on social media stating to give away attractive gift cards of popular websites and stores. They could ask for your personal information to claim the fake prize, and as soon as the victim falls for the bait, they steal all your data. Few hackers ever charge you the data fees by stealing your contact number.
Hoax New Scam
Ads containing catchy but fake new headline that attracts the users by playing with the victim’s fascination with interesting celebrity news. When the victim falls for it and clicks on the news link posted, it takes them to a page to download the latest adobe flash. But this site is usually the fake site that the hackers have created to send malware and Trojan horses.
Scam with Healthcare Programs
This type of scam is quite popular that includes false Medicare or Medicaid program targeting to extract money from the victims. Some ads state the SSN of the victim has been suspended and asking them to contact them on the fake number that they share. Once contacted, they lure the victim in paying huge amount of money in the name of regeneration of SSN. Such Fraudsters have profiles featuring the Medicare or Medicaid logo to make it seem more genuine.
This is another type of phishing scam which is quite common on Facebook and Instagram. It is usually an error message that the victim receives stating that their account will be disabled unless any action is taken. The hackers then try to convince the victim to either share their login credential or use the link that they provide. Either way, the victim will end up getting scammed as the hacker will retrieve their personal information.
Money flipping in commonly spread across Instagram and is a fast-growing financial scam. Fraudsters try to extort money from the victims by luring them to invest in their particular venture.
Last but not Least – Catfishing
Catfishing is a type of scam wherein the hacker takes a fake identity and tries to lure the customer by having a romantic relationship virtually. After creating a good relationship with the victim and gaining their trust, they successfully scam the victim for their money.
Steps to Avoid Social Media Scam
- Never trust the stranger. If you have received any unknown link, pop-up message, or post containing content that is nasty, hateful or too-good to be true, remember to never click on it. Avoid such spam messages and post and try to delete them immediately.
- Always keep a strong password. Use a minimum of 7-8 characters containing both upper and lower cases, numeric, and special symbols. It is advisable never to share your passwords with anyone.
- Always check the address bar of a particular website before using it. If the site does not include https, it’s a red flag indicating the sites is not a secured website. Never use your login credentials on such sites and only use your personal information if you know the website is legitimate and strongly encrypted.
- Always delete the spam emails and messages that ask for personal information without any concern. Mostly every legitimate site never ask for these details as they already have such data saved with them and do not require to verify every time you log in. If by any chance there is a security breach on the original account, most companies will notify their customers through writing to alert them about the breach.
- Always contact the companies through trusted channels. If you have received any unsolicited emails under the genuine name, contact the organization and verify about the email immediately.
- Please remember to verify the dealers. Either try contacting the person directly or try asking the regular customers, friends, and family member who have already dealt with them.
- Never be in a rush to transfer money. Always prefer online methods such as PayPal or make payments through your card. It will help you retrieve your money and revert the transaction if you get scammed later.
Go through our blog “How Can We Protect our Children from the Dangers of Internet?” to protect kids from online scams.
For the Victims of Social Media Scam
If you have been victimized on such scams, please follow the below steps to protect yourself.
- Stop all the contacts with the hacker immediately. Block the user from all the social media platforms as well as from your phones and other multi-media devices.
- Always keep the copies of the conversation as a proof
- Immediately report the scammer on the social media platform
- If required, report the person to the local police authority as well.
Many social media platforms have brought millions of people together from around the world. But every good thing comes with a bad thing as well, always remember that safety is better than a cure. Read our blog “How to Reduce the Risk of Internet Scams?” to prevent Internet Scams. For better results use a genuine privacy protection software such as XA Troop to keep all your personal information in a safe and secure way. Many technical experts also suggest keeping one licensed antivirus software to protect the system from these regular malware attacks.