Common social media scams you don’t want to be caught up in
In this day and age, billions upon billions of dollars are being spent by top tech companies to make certain that every data and information passing through their servers are secure at all times.
Research upon research are being done by security experts in order to improve — and, ultimately, guarantee — not just the security of the company running the business, but the entirety of its clientele.
Problem is, there those who are just as equally motivated cyber thieves who somehow always manage to find a workaround on newly invented security measures — and the vicious cycle just goes on and on.
Where technology fails to deliver, however, cybercriminals use different tactics to prey on vulnerable users in order to get them to reveal their personal and financial information. The venue for their sinister activities?
What better place than the social media?
Here are some of the common social media scams you probably no nothing about just yet.
Fake customer service
Perhaps one of the most common social media scams, this type of scam is usually being done by cybercriminals through Twitter.
Cybercriminals set up fake customer accounts and they usually prey on Twitter users by using misleading Twitter handles that look almost exactly the same as the ones they’re trying to impersonate — but usually with a slightly off character attached to it.
This scam is commonly done when users try to tweet their banks for information (or even feedback). The cybercriminals pick up their message, reply to it with what seems like a legitimate answer and then start phishing for information about the user either by finding a way to get them to reveal such information through that same Twitter conversation, or by asking them to log on to a fake website that mirrors their bank’s website — which, in turn, steals their usernames and passwords.
This trick works similarly to that of the trick that thieves do to steal PIN numbers from ATM machines — wherein they place a fake keypad on top of the real one to get depositors to reveal these numbers.
Cybercriminals not only do this to get users to reveal their bank accounts — some try to lure public figures (such as celebrities, journalists, and even bloggers) to get them to reveal their usernames and passwords by posing as a Twitter account that handles verified users.
Everyone on Facebook and Instagram has probably seen at least one of these. Posts that are getting a lot of attention from other users are usually plagued with comments that, at first, would seem like they’re only harmless comments revealing more information about the topic related to the post — but would later on turn out to be a full-blown scam. These are usually the comments that use clickbaits — supposedly offering information that would trigger curiosity among other users. The users, in turn, click on the link accompanying the comments of the cybercriminals — which would later on bring them to a website dedicated to phishing for their credit card information.
Who doesn’t like discounts? No one, right? And it’s for that exact same reason that cybercriminals mercilessly prey on users that get rattled at the mere sight of the word ‘DISCOUNT’.
Much like fake customer service accounts, scammers that lure users into giving up their personal and financial information usually set up fake Twitter accounts designed to pose as legitimate social media accounts of big companies. They try to entice users by posting several updates that contain links to their supposed ‘discounted’ promotions. Once users take the bait, they are brought to a website that’s— you guessed it right — dedicated to getting their credit card information.
Many media companies now livestream important and popular events — and cybercriminals know that this is a good opportunity for them to lure people into giving up their credit card information.
Most of these scamming happen on popular Facebook or Instagram posts that are related to that important event — where scammers leave comments with links that will bring users to a site that supposedly offers livestreaming of that particular event.
Once users click on the link, they will be taken to a fake website that claims to play the livestream after they enter their personal or credit card information. The problem is, these livestreams don’t really exist.
Fake online contests
One of the most common social media scams happening today involves fake online contests. Scammers lure users into giving up their personal information by posting about fake contests that users can supposedly enter. Anyone who takes the bait gives the scammers their personal information unknowingly.
To avoid falling prey to any of these common social media scams, we advise users to be very careful when giving out personal information to third-party applications or websites, especially in transactions that involve giving out financial information. If in doubt, make sure to contact the company involved either through their official website, official customer care hotlines. You can also always pay their physical office a visit.