Detecting and Avoiding Fraud on Social Media
August 24, 2021
Howdy friends! In light of my recent social media imposter, who was impersonating me on Facebook and friend requesting many of you, I want to discuss the importance of detecting fraud and avoiding it on social media. Knowing and discerning when someone is trying to steal your personal information or financial information is vital in today’s technologically social world. I’ll explain a few ways hackers and scammers can try to steal your information and then detail ways we can all steer clear of their sinister efforts and keep our financial and personal information safe!
FAKE ACCOUNTS ARE EVERYWHERE!
The first and most common way people try to get to you on social media is by creating fake accounts. These fake accounts can be very hard to tell the difference from real accounts because the name is normally identical, and they steal the profile pictures from the real account. What happened in my case was that someone created an account called “CASH the’ Mascot” that had my exact same profile picture and cover photo. It is very hard to tell if these accounts are real or not when they look identical to the actual real accounts, but there is some due diligence you must do before accepting these requests. When you get a friend or follow request, make sure you go to the page and look at their recent posts to see whether they look legitimate. Another check that is helpful is to look at their friend list and see if you have any mutual contacts. If a profile doesn’t have many friends, that is a big red flag, and you should proceed with caution! The biggest thing to remember with fake accounts is that they are everywhere and will try to get to you and your information if you let them. So be cautious when accepting requests from people you are not familiar with or with someone with who you already thought you were friends with. A hacker could be impersonating one of your friends’ social media accounts!
DIRECT MESSAGES CAN GET YOU IN TROUBLE.
If you receive a message from someone you are not friends with, that should automatically raise some eyebrows. Before opening a message from someone you are not familiar with, make sure you double-check the sender’s name. A lot of times, fictitious accounts will have misspellings or punctuation errors, and that should indicate to you that the account is probably trying to steal information. If you open a message from someone and they have provided a link to click, NEVER EVER click the link. These links can lead to viruses being downloaded on your devices that can steal all your personal information and more. Make sure if you are going to click on a link from a message on a social media platform, you know exactly who the link is from and where the link will take you. Hackers use this method all the time to gain access to our devices because they do not have to be friends with you to send you a message. This leads me to my next point, which is knowing to never give out your personal information over social media. If someone messages you asking for your credit card information or other financial information because you won a giveaway, DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT, ever give out your financial information over social media or over any other insecure website for that matter. You should never have to give out your financial information for any reason on social media, so if someone asks for it, know that they are trying to scam you and steal from you!
KEEP YOUR PROFILE AND INFORMATION SAFE.
The last tip I have for you to protect your personal information is to keep your social media safe and secure. Many people use the same passwords and usernames for all of their accounts, so if your social media account gets hacked or your password is compromised, make sure you change it immediately, not only on your social media but everywhere else you have used the same password or username. Another way to make sure your account stays safe is to log out of your social media after you use it. For example, if you are on a public computer and log onto your social media, make sure you log out once you are done so the next person to use the device won’t stumble across your open and accessible social media accounts.
I hope you found this information not only useful but a little scary. Social media is a wonderful place for us all to connect and stay in touch, but if used carelessly, it can be a place where fraudsters and scammers take advantage of you. So please share this information with your family, friends, and loved ones. Everyone should be aware of the potential threats that lurk on our social platforms and should know how to avoid them. Thank you for tuning in to my CASH the Mascot blog! Talk soon!