How to Avoid Social Media Fraud and Scams?
Other than friendly interactions, social media has become the most common tool for fraudsters today.
18:13 26 August 2021
Social media has changed the way humans interact. We have become increasingly public, as we share a variety of personal information online via social media. Back in the day, you had no way of knowing a person’s interests without asking them. Now, you can browse through their profile and pick up on certain clues. The new digital age and rise in popularity of devices such as smartphones can provide access to anything from anywhere at any time.
Other than friendly interactions, social media has become the most common tool for fraudsters today. Scammers are widely using popular platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram to trick users.
As BBC reports, even a new type of influencers have surfaced on the web. Instead of promoting eyeliner or a magical cream, they advertise guides on committing fraud. Thus, social media has become a playground for hackers. Be it the new ways of profiting as masked influencers or sending malicious links to users; everything seems to be possible.
The question that arises here is how to avoid social media fraud? How can you keep yourself safe from scammers and cybercriminals?
Let us answer this question below!
What are social media scams?
The hackers can use your friends’ or family members’ social media account to send a dangerous message. It sounds scary, isn’t it? But it is possible and happening on a large scale.
You might not know the value of your personal data, but cybercriminals do. Personal information is the costliest thing in the modern age. People pay huge amounts to hackers to get their personal data that can be used by them for their profit. Information like who you are, your present location, places you visit, your family and friends, and other relevant information is valuable.
This data of yours can make you as well as the people you know vulnerable. Your identity can be misused to communicate with anyone for fraud purposes.
Therefore, social media scams have become the primary source of information and use for criminal purposes. There are various types of social media frauds from which you have to save yourself.
What Kind of Social Media Frauds Can You Face?
It may sound a bit peculiar to you at first, but romance scams rank at the top of the list of social media scams. Impostors, who use fake identities to interact with you, are the main perpetrators of this kind of fraud. The moment these fraudsters have made you fall for them; half of their mission is completed. The next message will be a demand for money either by blackmailing you, using emotional blackmail, or faking medical emergencies.
What will you do if one day you get a message from a trusted person about needing some money urgently through wire transfer? If you are aware of social media scams, you will confirm it by calling them, right? But not everyone is aware of it and falls for the trick and sends money to fraudsters.
Phishing on social media is one of the most common ways for fraudsters to make money. They play with people's emotions and send personal messages to users, typically promoting gifts and cash prizes. The moment you click on it, you will be redirected to a webpage demanding your personal information and causing malware in your device. The software can infect your device and give hackers access to your contact list, allowing them to send fraudulent messages to everyone on your list. Now, because the message your contacts get is from you, a trustworthy source, they will very certainly open it, and the process will repeat itself.
But there are some ways to avoid social media fraud.
How to Avoid Social Media Fraud?
- Two-factor authentication. The most common security tool is two-factor authentication which is widely used by almost every social media platform. You can enable it by linking your mobile number with your account. So, whenever you try to log in, a text message with a code will be sent to your linked mobile number. Without entering the code, you or anyone else cannot log in to your account. While this does not necessarily protect you from scams, it prevents account takeover.
- Don’t click on ads. The ads are a vital source of income for product companies and hackers. They place customized ads with malware that looks luring at a glance. You should avoid clicking any of the ads anywhere to keep yourself safe from fraud. If you do click on them, ensure that the destination site is reliable.
- Trusted devices. Try to use social media only on trusted devices and Wi-Fi networks. Don’t browse your social media on public computers and Wi-Fi because most of them are unprotected and unencrypted, leading to losing data. But, if you cannot avoid using the shared device or Wi-Fi, you should always use an online VPN to protect your data. VPN will keep you safe from hackers by hiding your IP address.
- Avoid responding to unknown people. Your social media friends should be people you know or trust. Thus, avoid accepting invitations from random accounts, especially if they look fake. Of course, never respond to them or click on the links they include in messages.
- Never send money to random people. Romance scams play with people’s hearts. If your love interest claims to struggle financially or gives you another sob story, do not wire them money. Please visit: Best Snow Chains for Tires
Everyone knows that the use of social media cannot be fully controlled, and the cases of fraud are going to increase. Therefore, using social media responsibly is what we all need to do to protect ourselves from fraudsters.