Staying Safe on Social Media as more and more scams arise.
1. Chain Letters
You’ve likely seen this one. It may appear in the form of, "Share this and Opera Winfrey will donate $5 million to charity!" But hold on, let’s think about this. Opera already does a lot for charity. She wouldn’t wait for something like this to take action. This is fake. The person who posted this is a scammer looking for “friends.” Break the chain, and don’t share.
2. Cash Grabs
Make sure people who friend you are real. If all you see is an attractive profile picture and no bio, it is probably a cybercriminal account looking for money. If someone asks you for money on social media, even if it’s a friend you know well, think twice before acting.
Here is an example, you just received a message on Facebook from one of your real friends who "lost his/her wallet on vacation and needs some cash to get home." So, being the kind, helpful person you are, you send some money right away. But here’s the thing: Your friend never sent this request. In fact, he isn’t even aware of it. His/her bugged computer grabbed all of his contacts and forwarded the message to everyone, waiting to see who would bite.
Again, think before acting. Call your friend. Inform him/her of the request and see if it's true. Next, make sure your computer or mobile device isn't infected as well.
3. Hidden Charges on Quizzes and ways to get Personal Password Info.
"What type of DISNEY character are you? Find out with our quiz! All of your friends have taken it!" Hmm, this sounds interesting, so you enter your info and cell number, as instructed. Congratulations you are Jasmine and you have just unwittingly subscribed to some dubious service that charges $9.95 to your mobile every month.
As it turns out, that "free, fun quiz" is neither. Never give out your personal information! This is also a way that they get answers to security questions on passwords.
Bots will leave comments on a random assortment of social media posts. This is the bots way of spreading spam with the intent to get people to sign up for services. Sometimes these bots are just out to get follow-for-follow requests in order to gain followers on certain accounts. In order to spot the bots you need to understand when a message is forwarded
Messages with the “Forwarded” label help you determine if your friend wrote the message or if it originally came from someone else. When a message is forwarded from one user to another more than five times, it’s indicated with a double arrow icon. If you’re not sure who wrote the original message, double-check the facts within the message before acting or forwarding the message.
If you receive a message that is fake, be sure to tell the person who sent it to you. They may not know they are doing it if their computer is infected with malware.
5. Instagram Follower Scam email
Don’t fall for email scams like this:
“I really like your Instagram pics. Please keep doing your great job! I personally think many other people would like to enjoy your pics too.
I was wondering if you would be interested in growing the # of followers beyond the X number of followers you have right now?
Sometimes, it's very hard to grow an Instagram account because you may not have enough time or may not know how to grow it. I am working at blah blah blah, we can help you to grow your Instagram faster with real and active followers relevant to your business.”
Once they get you to sign up, they will spam you with fake robot following accounts. These services don’t actually help you they are in it to steal your information.
6. Look out for what is called the FOLLOW FARMING scam.
Posts like “win a free RV” “oops we couldn’t find the winner, like our page and share to win”. When you look at the page transparency Facebook will tell you when the page was created. It’s usually a common topic and all they are trying to do is get a ton of followers so that they can sell the page to a company. The company will then change the name of the page to their brand and start off with a big number of followers. This is also why you will sometimes receive notifications that someone has changed the name of their business page.
My favorite one that circulates Facebook is the “Free Disney World Trips”. The page will only have about 100,000 followers. Come on! A real Disney page would have WAY more followers. They also use the excuse of our winner "Jane Doe" couldn't take the prize as she was under the age of 18 as required by our contest, etc etc. ANY excuse as to a winner couldn't be found is FAKE. Just don't share. Yes, it is too good to be true.
7. Facebook will start to charge users.
You may have seen a notification that Facebook will start charging you if you don’t send this to 10 people. Similarly, Facebook will start charging you if you don’t copy this status and post, etc. Don’t believe it! Facebook will ALWAYS be FREE. They get their money from ads.
8. Accounts being copied on Instagram.
This has happened to 3 stylists' Instagram accounts this past week, so it’s more common than you might think! They copy your account and then ask for money. Firstly, report the account! Secondly, make sure to tell your followers that you have been hacked. A direct message works best for this. You can copy-paste a simple message to all followers. Thirdly, and most importantly, reset your password. It probably wouldn’t hurt to reset your other social media account passwords as well just to be safe.
If you see an account add you that is someone you know or a friend of a friend you can tell if it is fake by the posts. All screenshotted posts were usually posted within the past day. Their follow back count will also be super low compared to the number that they follow.
9. Random followers.
You know the random person with little to no followers, likely someone that is a "Doctor" "Military" or holding a fish. Report them. When you report them they are removed from following you and blocked. Instagram has a strike system the more they are reported the faster they get removed from Instagram.
10. Fake Winning.
Have you entered in contests on social media by commenting and sharing on a real account? If someone comments under your comment stating that you are the winner and directing you to a link to fill out your information DON'T DO IT! They are fishing for your information.
Always reach out to the account that is hosting the giveaway to confirm that you are indeed their chosen winner.