How to Avoid Scams On Social Media
: If You Saw Something That Is Too Good to Be True, It Probably Is
Scams, what is it? Scam is a term that describe any fraudulent business or schemes that take money or any other good from an unsuspecting person for a quick profit. If you have been a victim of scam that from online interaction, especially from social media, you're not alone. And recently, the SSC or Social Security Administrations issued a warning that stating scammers are impersonating government workers to trick people into handing offer their money and even their personal information.
More than 95,000 people reported a social media scam according to us federal trade commission. According to the FTC, more than a quarter of those who reported financial losses due to a scam said the transaction began with a social media ad, message, or post. Facebook has the largest user base with 2.9 billion of monthly active users, Instagram has 1.4 billion. That's already a large and diverse pool of victims for a potential scammer.
Liz Wegerer from VPNOverview has provide a list of the most common Facebook and Instagram scams.
- Phasing Scam. Avoid clicking on links in DMs, email, or post from people that you don't know. These links could infect your device with malware or even worse a ransomware to a spoofed a website that capture your login credentials on your social media. hover over the links that you want to opened to examine the URL, if it's suspicious or you're unfamiliar with, do not click it.
- Job-Offer Scams. Usually, this kind of scam offers you a job that is too good to be true, free worktime, no criteria to join etc. It’s not that hard to suspect this kind of ad. They usually instruct potential victims to complete web forms with your personal information for impersonations or identity thief.
- Fake Investment. they promise you percentage of your investment that sounds too good to be true, which most of the time, it is.
- Selling likes and followers. A scammer may ask you to pay a small fee in exchange for like or follow packages, and then steal your financial information when you send your payment information.
Not only that, there’s also romance scams, quizzes and games, charity, and lots of others. Your social media is a treasure trove or valuable information your public contact list, who you follow and who follows you, from this data only a scammer could impersonate a family member or a friend of yours with a spear phasing email. You can do these to give stranger less access to your personal life by trying these tips for locking down your social media.
- Check Your Privacy Settings, your Instagram account is public by default, which basically anyone can see your post, following and followers. You can set this to Private which limit of who can see your account. On Facebook you can’t hide your profile picture and cover photos but you can hide almost the rest of your information from public so take advantage from that.
- Use 2 Factor Authentication or Multi-Factor Authentication. One of the simplest way to prevent unwanted logins is by enabling 2VA, so you'll get a confirmations before you logged in to Instagram or Facebook or any social media that rich of scammers. Even better if you’re using a password manager such as Bitwarden that can help you manage your account.
- Keep Track of your third-party app. Many third-party applications may be linked to your social media accounts. For example, on Instagram, you can see which apps and websites are linked by going to the Settings section of your account profile and scrolling down to the "Apps and Websites" section. If you see one that you don't recognize, remove any that you don't use frequently or that you don't recall installing.
- Decline Any Friend Request or Follow from Stranger. The reality is, not everyone wants to be your friend. Accepting friend requests from people you don't know is a bad idea. The more strangers you have on your friend list, the more likely you will be approached with a scam. Only accept followers/friend from people you know or you want to.
- Ignore Suspicious Links and Unsolicited Messages. Avoid clicking on unsolicited videos or links in emails or private messages, even if the sender's name is familiar to you. If you believe a friend sent you something suspicious, contact them by phone or text before clicking the link.
You don’t have to stop being active in your social media, just be cautious with your information and limit how much strangers can see it. You don’t know who’s reading or take a look at your social media.