There is a lot to like about social media for scammers and hackers. It is an easy way to reach more than a billion people online, from anywhere in the world. It is always advisable to be vigilant against suspicious claims on social media, to keep yourself financially safe. Mentioned below are a few common social media frauds, and some safety tips to make your social media presence more secure.
Some common social media frauds include:
- Advertisement Frauds
Social media marketplaces are a common platform for scamsters to carry out a host of frauds. Replica products are advertised to be real, and are never actually dispatched upon being sold. Many sellers who do this also do not provide cash on delivery option. If you ever come across such an ad, it should ring a few alarm bells, especially for products with prices that make seem to be too good to be true.
A well-known practice, scammers create a fake profile and befriend other people, targeting lonely seniors and under the pretense of friendship or romance, siphon off funds from the victim’s bank account. Always avoid connecting with people you do not know personally, especially if they do not have any photos of themselves and their profile looks bare and vague.
- Job Frauds
Often, scammers will create a fake job, which promises easy money for minimal work, luring in not just seniors who have a lot of free time on their hands, but also unassuming younger adults who are looking for employment. Under the guise of registration charges and backdoor charges, scammers collect money from their victims and then disappear. Authentic job posters will never ask for money when advertising an open position.
Scammers create a fake profile of somebody influential or a close friend of a person, and then message potential victims, asking for financial help due to an emergency.
If you ever come across such a situation, it is advisable to personally call up the person messaging you (if you have their contact number) and verify if the said profile is actually theirs. If doing that is not an option, then ask the potential impersonator messaging you a personal question (the answer to which will be known only to you and them). This will act as an identity and verification test and potentially save your money from being scammed off.
Here are a few safety practices to consider when using social media
- Use a strong password. Include capital letters, numeric, and special characters to create a password which won’t be easily cracked. Using two factor authentication is also an added layer of security.
- Try not to use social media on a public device, or on a public wi-fi network.
- Disable GPS and Location access to social networking apps on your phone. This can be done through your phone settings.
- Always be mindful about clicking links that you receive from anyone, as it can have the potential to steal personal information or run a malicious software on your device.
- Keep personal information about your life to a minimum, so that it can’t be sued for malicious purposes by a scammer.
- When shopping for products, always buy from trusted e-commerce platforms. Avoid shady social media advertisements and check the reviews given to a seller if possible.