Social Media Scam Artists

Con-ArtistSocial media has come a long way from what it once was and the more it grows the more it is fresh new territory for scams and con artists.

If you go to you can see that you can check for any kind of scam or mischief – and enter the name of your favorite social network in the search box there.

Whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram, chances are there are several types of scams related to that platform listed on Snopes.

How easy is it for scam artist and other malevolent types to pin point you on social networks?

According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report – people on social networks are little by little falling prey to online scams. The report says of social network users:

– 4 in 10 have fallen victim to cybercrime on social networking platforms

– 1 in 6 report that someone has hacked into their profile and pretended to be them

– 1 in 10 have fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms

– 36% have accepted friend or follow requests from people they don’t know

– Only 1/2 use privacy settings to control what information they share and with whom.

This just proves what anyone on social networks already knows: As social media attract more people and they spend more time, there scammers see opportunity.

The scams can be the annoying, but meaningless “you need to change your Facebook settings”-type messages or they can be wicked links that are harmlessly shared because no one bothered to check them.

For instance, recently two technically advanced people I’m connected to both fell for the Facebook Graph Search scam that starts with this …

“Hello to all of you who are on my list of contacts of Facebook. I would like to ask a favor of you…. You may not know that Facebook has changed its privacy configuration once again. Thanks to the new “Graphic app”, any person in Facebook anywhere in the world can see our photos, our “likes” and our “comments”. During the next two weeks, I am going to keep this message posted and I ask you to do the following…”

Even though Graph Search makes it easier for you to find content on Facebook ,it does not change your privacy settings.

So what steps can you take to protect yourself on social media? Here what you can do …

11 Basic Social Media Safety Tips:

1. Keep your personal information private: 
Be careful what information you share and post online and with whom you share it.

2. Don’t post information that would make you or your family vulnerable:
This may include specifics such as your date of birth, address, information about your daily routine, holiday plans or the school your children attend.

3. Set your online social networking profiles to private.

4. Grant access carefully:
Apps often allow you to sign in via Twitter or Facebook, but in so doing are you granting unknown people access to your account.  A safeguard is to Google any app by name before clicking through. If there is trouble with an app chances are someone has posted about it.

5. Practice good password security:
Use strong passwords (minimum of eight characters with a mix of uppercase and lowercase characters and at least one wild card character such as a dollar sign or an ampersand, for example)

6. Try not to access social networking sites on public computers:
Use your own computer or smartphone instead of the computers at libraries and other public places. Your login information can be intercepted.

7. Only “friend” real friends.

8. Google:
Google yourself at least once a month search for your name and your own variations of it (i.e. “Jonathan Smith” and “Jon Smith”)

9. Be VERY cautious of any request for money
even if it appears to be from a family member or a good friend.

10. Click with care: Never click on suspicious links on social networking sites – even if they are from your friends. If the link is from a trusted friend or has an identifiable URL you should be OK.

11. Educate the Youth
on the dangers of social networking scams, younger social media users may be more computer savvy than you, but they can unconsciously be in threat of the dangers of identity theft and digital scams.

Take these steps to reach a healthier and cleaner social media experience!