How to Avoid Scammers on Social MediaHow to Avoid Scammers on Social Media

How to Avoid Scammers on Social Media

Today is Social Security Slam Scam Day: Learn how to recognize the most common scams and protect your personal information on Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms.

I’ve cut back on social media for a few years, and it gives me the peace of mind that comes from keeping my friends and strangers out of business. i. In addition to the mental and social health benefits of not reading everyone’s thoughts in public forums, I also get a lot less spam, texts and robocalls these days. When I stopped sharing details about my life with strangers and locked down my privacy settings on social media apps, I blocked access to those who wanted to cheat. I encourage you to do the same, as the US Social Security Administration is doing on Slam the Scam Day.

Scammers Have a Social Media Addiction, Too

If you’ve been the victim of a scam that started during an online chat, you’re not alone. Recently, the Social Security Administration issued a warning that fraudsters are using government officials to trick people into handing over their money and personal information.

According to the United States Federal Trade Commission, in 2021, more than 95,000 people reported scams on social media. The FTC reports that more than a quarter of those who report financial loss from a scam say the transaction originated through advertising, text or social media.

Facebook and Instagram aren’t hangouts for the cool kids these days, but globally, Facebook still has the largest user base, with 2.9 billion monthly users; Instagram has 1.4 billion. This represents a large pool of diversity for a potential fraudster. In an email, cybersecurity expert Liz Wegerer of VPNOverview.com provided a list of the biggest scams on Facebook and Instagram.

I’ve included a brief description of the warning signs of each scam and what you can do to protect yourself from them. Scams: Avoid phishing links in DMs, emails, messages, or text messages. These links may infect your computer or device with malware or direct you to a malicious website that holds your login information.

Do not click on links posted by visitors. Hover over the links you receive from people you know and check the URL. Do not click on a link if it will take you to an unknown or incorrect web address.

Love Cheats: You can instantly receive funny messages and friend requests from interesting strangers on dating apps and your social media accounts. Scammers don’t need malware and phishing links to steal your money, but good social engineering is enough.

Avoid talking to someone you don’t know who started your conversation on a private message board. Don’t give them money for any reason.

Job Tricks: Have you ever seen a job posting on your Facebook feed that seems too good to be true? Do not post on social media platforms. Instead, go directly to the company’s website to view job postings and apply.

Job scams often ask potential clients to fill out web forms with their personal information. A scammer uses this information for identity theft or identity theft. Game questions and cheats: Just like in your social media, your answers to social media questions are often the same information you use to create passwords or answer security questions.

To prevent fraudsters from getting this information, I recommend that you do not answer questions or lie when you answer questions. Fraudsters: Watch out for fake charity requests, especially those targeted at important events such as the war in Ukraine, COVID-19, and other disasters.

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Anyone can create a page on GoFundMe or a similar charity website, so do your research before contributing to the cause. Fake investment scams: Scammers may promise big returns on small amounts and then disappear when it’s time to pay.

Never give money to strangers online. Fake affiliate requests: Anyone looking for influence receives a stream of spam messages on Instagram offering payment for product promotion. Some offers may be legitimate, but many contain phishing links. If you’re interested in working with a brand, ask a brand manager to contact you via video chat to make sure you’re talking to the right company.

Get your financial agreement in writing and have a lawyer review it before signing. Sell ​​your followers and likes: A scammer may ask you to pay a small amount in exchange for a like or follow package, and then steal your money after posting a comment. Develop your audience carefully and keep your payment information out of the hands of fraudsters.

How to Limit Social Media Data Leaks

Your social media posts are a wealth of valuable information. Your social contact list alone can help a criminal: a list of names connected to social media accounts is enough for a scammer to use phishing emails to impersonate a family member or friend. In the email, the scammer tries to get you to reveal personal information such as trade secrets, login credentials, credit or debit card numbers or embarrassing personal information.

Give strangers less access to your personal life by trying these seven steps for locking down your social media activity:

1. Evaluate Your Privacy Settings

Your Instagram account is public by default, so anyone can see your posts. Set your account to “private” so only approved followers can see your posts, comment, and send direct messages (Settings and privacy > Account privacy > Private account). You can’t hide your profile pictures or cover photos on Facebook, but you can hide almost everything else from people who aren’t on your friends list by tweaking the platform’s elaborate privacy settings.

2. Use a Password Manager and Enable MFA

One of the easiest ways to prevent unwanted logins on your accounts is to keep your login credentials in a password manager and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for your accounts. Facebook and Instagram offer a few kinds of authentication, but I recommend using a mobile authenticator app such as Authy.

3. Keep Track of Third-Party Apps

You might have many third-party applications connected to your social media accounts. For example, on Instagram, you can see which apps and websites are connected by visiting the Settings section of your account profile and navigating to a section labeled “Apps and Websites.” If you see one you do not recognize, it could be a malicious app spying on your online activity. Review the list and delete any you don’t use frequently or don’t remember installing.

4. Buy Only From Verified Profiles and Brand Accounts

Before purchasing anything via a social media platform, verify the seller’s account. Legitimate brands on Instagram and Facebook are verified by the platform and have a blue circle checkmark next to their names.

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