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6 Ways to Avoid Social Media Scams

Many know that I have been studying Cyber-Security and I have been learning about the challenges that the average person has each day. It is important to realize this simple fact - Cyber-Security begins at home. I have noticed over time that there is a great need for education with Social Media. Have you ever seen an "I bet this won't get a 'like'" or "have you seen me?" that is outdated? There are hundreds of opportunities for people with malicious intent to serve yours with malware, viruses, and permanent damage to your computer. There is no need to be fearful, but there is a need to be observant. Many who read this have experienced their Social Media accounts being hacked but don't understand why. Here are just six ways that we can do better in avoiding scams on social media.

  • If it is too good to be true... I love a great opportunity like anyone else. I am always looking for ways to create streams of income that will help better our family. There is a fine line between income and scam. For example, if you see an ad online saying that you could be the next millionaire or making statements that you could make a multi-figure income. Reality is that these are often scams that show themselves as a network marketing opportunity or a lucrative business opportunity. Phrases that bring excitement like "This is YOUR time!" or "I made 1,000,000 in one year just by using my phone!"

  • Famous or prominent people contacting you... You are amazing. I will start there. However, if you have someone who claims to be a famous actor/actress, pastor, etc., run away and do it quickly. I have seen many people fall into the trap of believing that someone famous was really interested in them and wanted to talk to them only to have them be scammed out of a boat load of money. If someone claims to be a famous individual and they are reaching out to you, please report them to the social media platform that you are using.

    • Ways to Know a Fake Account from a Real Account;

      • There is no blue check by the name

      • There are misspellings in the name

      • There are misstatements in the profile

      • You receive a message with weird jargon that is out of the character of the famous individual

      • If they ask for you to send money to Western Union.

  • Please share for Prayer... It is innocent enough to share and reshare people asking for prayer for an individual or if a person is missing. The problem is that after a period of time after these being shared and reshared, the person that we are praying for is either completely healed, found, found deceased, or have passed away. The best thing to do is to click on the profile that originated the post. Usually, if they have been sharing this post, there will be updates to the post under their profile or under the post stating what that update is. Why is this important? Predators are out there that will contact you out of your own goodwill to pray only to find that they aren't even connected to the person that you are praying for.

  • Fun Quizzes are only fun if they are real... The quizzes on Facebook are fun! I love them like the next person. The problem is that many of these quiz sites are full of malware. Just with one click of a link, you can introduce your computer and phone to malicious installments that you are not aware of. These installations can slow down the performance of your device, allow the attacker to capture your keystrokes, and even crash your computer completely. Only go to the quizzes that you are familiar with and that are from people you trust.

  • I bet I won't even get one share... Personally, things like this really tick me off. First, everyone knows that if you see a sad picture that you are going to share it. Second, the emotions are played on to grab your attention to click. There are some of these that are harmless. There are some, though, that have links within the picture or malicious code that gets downloaded into your computer.

  • Chain Messages - You will be blessed if you... Do I really have to go into this? How many of you remember the chain emails that you would get that would promote prosperity and a gold watch if you share this email? Attackers use these are an opportunity to infect your computer and those that you share it with. Friends don't let friends share malware...

There are a whole lot more that I could post. It important to use caution when browsing Social Media, but there is no reason to fear because you are equipped to handle it. Simply put, don't share something that you don't know where it came from and don't click on things that aren't familiar to you.

Do you have a story of a time when you fell victim or caught someone who was trying to finagle their way into your social media? Share it below!


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