Social media can be a wonderful tool to connect people, promote ideas and foster creativity.  However, as with everything, the wonderful world of social media has a dark side. One particular aspect that is problematic with social networking is the potential for scams. However, with some knowledge of what to look for on each of the platforms, you can protect yourself against many of the threats.  Below are some helpful tips to avoid the most popular scams broken down by social networking site:

Twitter: Direct Messages: Direct Message Scams often take the form of a phishing scam. You may receive a DM saying “Can you believe she posted this about you?” with a link attached.  Of course your first thought is “Who said what?” and you want to click on the link.  You should never click on these links though.  Don’t worry, no one said anything about you and if you do go ahead and click on the link you will probably be hit with some nasty malware that could lead to identity theft.

Facebook: Profile Viewer Tracking: Of course we would all like to know if our ex- significant other is curious about us and seeing how happy we are, how good we look, etc. etc. However, this is just not a feature that Facebook offers.  There is no program that you can download that will show you who has viewed your Facebook profile.  If you try to download one of these programs you will, again, probably be left with some type of malware. Rather than chance it, just go ahead and assume that everyone knows how fabulous you are and that they are all very interested in your life.

Linkedin: Make Money From Home: Linkedin is a different type of social network geared toward business professionals and therefore the scams which take place are often linked to financial opportunity.  You can look, an directly apply, for jobs on the site.  Therefore the territory is ripe for “Get Rich Quick” schemes and “Financial Opportunities of a Lifetime”. In avoiding these scams, it is wise to remember that anything that seems too good to be true, probably is. Yes, you can make money working from home on the Internet, but you will not be able to purchase a mansion and Mercedes Benz with the profits. Usually, victims will only find out that they have are victims when they have handed over their personal information and never hear back from the potential employer. At this point, the “employer” has every piece of information they need to commit identity theft against you and you didn’t make a penny.

There are factors which are interwoven into all of these scams.  The desire to make easy money, curiosity and vanity drive many of them.  In addition, the fast pace of social networking makes it easy to forget to take the time and think twice before clicking on a link or “take someone up” on their offer. If you happen to fall for a social networking scam, don’t feel bad or embarrassed.  Scammers are smart and always one step ahead of those trying to stop them.  If you think you may have been a victim or have more questions, you can always contact a victim advisor at the ITRC by calling 888.400.5530. 

"3 Top Social Media Scams " was written by Nikki Junker.  Nikki is the Media Manager at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to the author and linking back to the original posting.


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