Social media has become deeply ingrained in our daily lives. While it can be an invaluable platform for keeping in touch with friends and family, it also poses some pretty big security risks.
There are a lot of scams operating through social media channels. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, it’s important to be aware of the scams in circulation so you can avoid falling victim to them.
Here, we’ll look at how social media scams work and how you can potentially spot them.
What Types of Social Media Scams Are There?
There are a surprising number of social media scams out there. The main ones include:
- Fake friends
- Fake ads
- Free app downloads
- Hidden URLs
Fake friends and ads are particularly common. With fake friends, you’ll have people you don’t know asking to connect with you. They are usually using fake photos and information and their goal is to get money out of their victims. They usually build up a friendship over time before asking for money for some kind of emergency.
Fake ads are in abundance on social media. They advertise a variety of products but fail to send them after payment has been made. Or, the items sent are nothing like what is advertised.
There are also apps you can download which are packed full of malware. A particular problem for Twitter users is hidden URLs. These are shortened links which don’t show you the address of the website. While most do take you to a genuine site, others are loaded with malware.
Finally, online quizzes are really popular with social media users and attackers take advantage of this. The information you supply through these quizzes is often stored and sold on to third parties.
So, there are a lot of scams to be aware of on social media. The question is, how can you sport them?
How to Spot Social Media Scams
While social media scams are rife, there are some easy ways to spot them. In terms of fake friends, simply avoiding adding anybody you don’t know is the best advice you can follow.
If an existing friend suddenly tries to add you with another account, you should also be wary. Fraudsters are starting to create profiles of friends and family, making it look like you know the person adding you. They then quickly ask you for money. In fact, if anybody asks you for money on social media, it’s most likely a scam.
Another tell-tale sign is if the price of a product sounds too goo to be true. Anything in life that sounds too good to be true usually is. And finally, avoiding clicking on links and taking quizzes on social media will also lower your risk.
You can’t always easily detect social media scams. However, being aware of what they are and how they work can help you to better protect yourself.