The world of social media is big, which means there’s plenty of room for fraudsters, scammers, and spammers to build their networks, find their victims, and spread their scams. We wanted to know more about this, which is why we got in touch with a leader in digital marketing, Faisal Abidi. Read on to know the nefarious schemes today’s fraudsters and scammers use on social media platforms:
#1: The Bogus Facebook Page
The spammer creates a Facebook page and posts content that looks legitimate: new updates from corporate blogs, fashion trends, celebrity gossip. In reality, it’s an attempt to get you to click on a malware-laden link. Once you do that and let yourself be infected by your own curiosity (or through the active installation of something), you can say goodbye to your privacy and some hard-earned cash.
If you think you might have been victimized, change all your passwords immediately and contact your bank or credit card company to inform them that you have been tricked by a spammer, says Faisal Abidi. You should also report it to Facebook; if enough people report these pages, they will eventually take them down.
#2: Fake, Spammy Twitter Users
There are people on Twitter who impersonate high-profile individuals or brands. If you’re not sure whether a particular Twitter account is real or fake, try typing in a tweet and looking at how many of your followers are among its likes and retweets.
If too many of your accounts are sharing and liking it (they may not be actual humans), that should raise some red flags. Also, if an account has nothing but spammy links or promotional tweets about products to buy, chances are it’s a fake. The same goes for shortened URLs—if they lead to pages with ads only and no relevant content, they could be fakes.
#3: What’s Going on with LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a fantastic tool to start your professional network. It’s a place where you can connect with professionals of all kinds and help expand your contacts. However, LinkedIn isn’t without its dangers: there are people and companies out there that might just take your personal information without permission or use it in illegal ways.
That’s why we reached out to Faisal Abidi to get his tips on how to protect yourself from fraudsters, scammers, and spammers. Here are his best tips for protecting yourself on LinkedIn:
First and foremost, make sure that your LinkedIn profile is properly locked down. This means setting up a strong password and changing it frequently. Avoid disclosing too much personal information on your profile to keep cybercriminals from being able to use it for identity theft purposes.
Once you’ve secured your profile and taken a few steps to protect your privacy settings on LinkedIn, it’s time to learn how to identify scammers and fraudsters. Scams come in many forms, but they all have one thing in common: they want you to send them money. If you get an unsolicited request asking for money on LinkedIn (or any other social media platform), do not respond! Faisal recommends blocking or reporting them as spam.
Last but not least, make sure you’re educated on all of LinkedIn’s privacy policies. LinkedIn gives you a lot of control over your information, so take advantage of it! Keep an eye out for profiles that look like they might be used for phishing scams, recommends Faisal.
#4: Fake Instagram Accounts Run By Scammers
The latest new trend with scammers is creating a fake Instagram account of a real company. Many social media users will check out an Instagram page and then make an actual purchase based on their perception of that page.
A fake account run by a scammer can be used to trick social media users into purchasing products or services they otherwise would not have purchased. For example, a scammer could create a fake Twitter account for McDonald’s and tweet about coupons for free hamburgers. Then when people go to McDonald’s expecting free food, they are disappointed when it doesn’t exist.
By using social media as a way to promote themselves, scammers are finding ways to exploit our trust in brands and companies we know well while getting us to buy things we normally wouldn’t buy.
While social media has revolutionized communication for millions of people around the world and given a platform for entrepreneurs to market their services and products, there is still plenty of room for scammers and con artists on these sites.
That’s why Faisal Abidi recommends that all businesses be careful about who they engage with on social media. Even some seemingly legitimate contacts may have nefarious intentions. This can be as simple as trying to sell you something or get you to click on a link in an email. The best way to protect yourself from scams and fraud is by paying attention when someone approaches you online.