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Social Media Scams
From The 12 Scams of Christmas)
Sites like Facebook and Twitter are great for keeping in touch with friends, sending holiday greetings, and looking at the latest family pictures around the tree. The problem? All that friendliness and good cheer tend to make us a little TOO comfortable and we forget to be cautious. Scammers and hackers are aware of that, and often target people on social media, hoping that they are more likely to fall victim to the latest trick.
What kinds of tricks are we likely to see on Facebook?
Facebook scams frequently fall into one of three categories: free offers, sensational news (especially about celebrities), and Facebook utilities. If you see a link on your wall for a free iPhone, laptop, or even a trip to Disney World, the overwhelming odds are it’s a scam. Check it out by going to the manufacturer’s website or even their Facebook page.
Brittany’s Latest Hot Sex Video! Shocking - Angelina Loses Her Cool and Slaps Brad! President Mistakenly Calls First Lady by Wrong Name! Did you ever see a video link like these, apparently from one of your friends? Once again, it’s likely to be a scam. Fake videos are designed to lure you to sites that try to install malicious software onto your computer.
Finally, there is no utility that lets you see who has searched your profile. Neither is there a DISLIKE button, nor a way to turn your Facebook page pink. And – we are sorry to say – no tool allows you to get rid of the annoying Timeline! Scammers prey on users’ oft-voiced desire for these features as a way to steal their money or to install malicious software onto their computers.
You can check up on many of these scams by going to www.facecrooks.com. According to the Internet Safety Project, Facecrooks “focuses on creating a safer environment on Facebook by warning all users about potential scams, hoaxes, and other dangerous things that can happen on Facebook.”
How about on Twitter?
The scams on Twitter are generally the phishing type: the ones that try to trick you into revealing your personal information to an identity thief. They often rely on the shortened URLs that most Twitter links feature. Because you can’t see the real name of the website you might not realize where you are being directed.
As of now, there appears to be no consistent, reliable way to preview a shortened URL to see where it’s actually taking you.
- Make sure to review your browser settings so you can set it to warn you when any site tries to install software on your computer.
- Never install anything onto your computer without checking where it comes from and what it does. Search engines like Google and Bing are the best ways to check.
- Avoid clicking on any video on Facebook that takes you to an unknown site. And especially beware of any links that rely on sensationalism and exclamation points (!!!).
- Make sure your antivirus software is up to date, and run scans frequently. Every day is not too often.
Other useful sites: