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5 Social Media Scams to Avoid

Beware: Social Media Scams Abound

It’s really quite disheartening that people are so vile. Scams against senior citizens and college student scams have long proliferated our society. Now, though, with the advent of social media, the riff raff is at it again. They’ve developed a number of methods to rip you off.

We’d like to let you know about 5 potential social media scams you might encounter.

1. Facebook Problems

These social media scams get their victims via Facebook. There are actually a few that are attributable to Facebook. These social media scams include:

  • WhatsApp: The download that so many of us have seen advertised on Facebook is causing trouble. Victims are enticed by its supposed benefits (like hiding their status). Then, the unsuspecting victim performs a download that signs her up for a very expensive text message service!
  • News Videos: Though they seem harmless enough, they infect your computer with viruses when you click on them. So, just find another venue for watching celebrities do bizarre things (they’re mostly bizarre anyway)!
  • Fake Google Play Apps: No, Android users didn’t avoid the scams. These hackers develop fake Google Play sites, advertise them on Facebook and get you to download a “free” app that also signs you up for exorbitant text service rates.

2. Twitter Virus

Cyber-criminals love our smartphones and tablets because we store far too much valuable personal information on them.

These devices retain our bank account information (if we utilize online banking), as well as our email information and all our contacts. So, it’s no wonder Twitter got hit up.

The Twitter Virus actually attacked users through Twitter’s own direct message system. The hackers designed the DMs to look as if they came from your followers. Inside, there’s a link, that when accessed, allows them to commit identity theft or infiltrate your Twitter account.

3. Hidden URLs

Hidden URLs are running rampant throughout online communities. They are particularly problematic on Twitter as most tweets shorten the full URL address in order to maintain the character count limits. This isn’t to say that all shortened URLs are bad.

Some will take you to the intended site. However, others will take you to counterfeit websites that install malware onto your hard drive. Don’t click on things you are unsure of, and make sure your computer has real-time protection software.

4. Phishing Requests

Phishing attempts are interesting. An email will show up informing you that photos of you–doing things you probably don’t want publicized–are available for your viewing.

If you click on the link, you’ll be redirected to a site that looks like your Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest login. Once you sign in, you’ve just given these criminals access to your accounts.

While many people have antivirus or antimalware software on their PCs, they don’t typically add in anti-phishing software. That’s a necessity to help you ascertain when a site’s real or fake.

5. Cash Grabs

Cash grabs are particularly wretched. Essentially, one of your “friends” on Facebook–and this could be a real-life friend–messages you and tells you that he’s lost his wallet and needs money to get home from wherever he is. Since you know him, and want to be a decent human being, you follow the instructions provided.

That’s the problem; you may know him but the message isn’t from him.  Someone has hacked his account and has sent that same message to all his contacts waiting to see who takes the bait. They reel in your money and your friend has no clue!

So, if you get some urgent message like that, just pick up the phone before you pick up your wallet.

How We Love Social Media

Yes, we love our daily interactions with the computer screens, smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, criminal minds love them even more! Wherever large numbers of people gather, rest assured someone is there figuring out a way to rip them off.

We’re not saying abstain from all forms of social media interaction,–how could you?! However, it does pay to use discernment and common sense when dealing with links and odd requests.

If you do fall victim to one of these social media scams, contact eConsumer Services® right away. We can help you get your money back if any has been sacrificed in the scam. Fill out the form to the right (don’t worry; we don’t need your sensitive personal information!) and we’ll get started right away.