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The top social media scams to watch out for

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(© daviles – stock.adobe.com)

Social media platforms have changed the way that people interact and communicate with each other forever, allowing individuals from across the world to connect with one another, access information, and stay up to date with world events. However, the opportunities that social media has afforded are not all rosy, as a new wave of cybercriminals has started focusing their attacks specifically on social media platforms. Understanding the most common social media scams will help you identify potential threats and stay safe online.

Fake profiles

This scam seems to have been inspired by the classic phishing cyber-scam but has become increasingly sophisticated as the tactics have transitioned to social media. Cybercriminals that partake in the fake profile scam will pose as a celebrity or business on social media. Using information and images that are easily accessible on the web, it is not too difficult for a cybercriminal to create a fake account.

A cybercriminal will pose as a celebrity to post a malicious link and encourage their followers to click on this link. This malicious link can then be used to infect the recipient’s computer, insert a virus or steal personal information. When cyber-attackers pose as a business, they often use the position to steal personal and banking information that a victim believes they are providing to the customer service team.

To protect yourself against these potential threats, you should always check an account before trusting it. The easiest way to check the authenticity of an account is to check to see when it was created, whether it is verified and how many followers the account has.

Sugar daddy scams

Beware of the sugar daddy scam, a new scam taking over social media and targeting young women. Cybercriminals use this scam to lure in unsuspecting victims with the promise of cash. The cyber-attacker will then use a variation of what is known as the fake check scam. The criminal will send the victim a check, which accidentally has a greater amount than is owned marked on it. The scammer will ask the victim to send a refund of the extra money that is owed. The problem arises here, as a bank is obligated to send a refund within a few days, whereas it can take a few weeks for a fake check to be noticed, leaving the victim out of pocket.

You should be very wary of anyone on social media or that you meet online, for that matter, who is offering to send you money. You should never share your account details with anyone online without first completely verifying their identity.

Profile hijacking

Profile hijacking is another common social media scam that you should watch out for. This particular cyber-attack is a form of identity theft, which involves a cybercriminal posing as a trusted individual. The cybercriminal might pretend to be your friend or family member to encourage you to send them money or click on a malicious link. There are two main ways that this attack is made: either the criminal will clone an individual’s account, or they will hack the account and change the password.

To avoid falling victim to this type of attack, you should make sure to thoroughly check all friend request before accepting. You should check to see if the account seems legitimate by inspecting whether they have the mutual friends you might expect. You should always be cautious about sending money to someone via social media.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press