The way people interact has drastically changed as a result of social media. As we all share a range of personal information online on numerous social networks, our lives have become increasingly public.
The invasion of social media into the lives of internet users is on the rise. According to the most recent statistics, there will be 3.96 billion social media users globally in 2022, a 4.8 percent increase over the previous year.
It is also 1.1 billion greater than the number of social users in 2017, indicating a 38.5 percent increase in just six years. Over this time span, the average yearly growth rate was 6.7 percent.
Facebook and YouTube each have over 2 billion active users, Instagram and WhatsApp each have over 1 billion active users, and Linkedin and Twitter each have over 300 million active users.
In business, social networking is also quite popular: nearly three-quarters of all small enterprises (73 %) use it.
Even if these online platforms have become our primary source of entertainment and an integral part of our lives, if we aren’t careful, they can pose a serious hazard. On social media platforms, scammers abound.
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Today’s currency is personal information. Any information that describes who you are, such as what you like, where you go, and who you hang out with, is valuable data. The more information someone has about you, the more exposed you are. When you have private information on someone, it’s also easier for them to manipulate you or start an assault on you.
Scams on social media come in many forms; a link placed on your wall, in your feed, or in a direct message could lead to malware that spreads throughout your account.
Have you ever gotten an unusual message from a friend?
Scammers frequently utilize the “is this you” video link to transmit malware and take over social media accounts.
This software could also be used to steal data from your computers, such as usernames, passwords, and financial data.
Aside from malware, more complex scams use a confidence strategy in which the fraudster poses as an authority figure or even attempts to form a romantic or digital friendship with you in order to acquire your trust and ultimately access your funds.
The simplest method to keep oneself safe is to never post personal information on the internet. That may not be an option if you enjoy using social media or rely on it for personal interactions. Reviewing your privacy settings and limiting what’s visible to your followers, connections, and even the whole public is a solid next step.
Let’s take a look at the tactics used by fraudsters to see how hackers utilize social media to launch assaults on people.
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Table of Contents
1. Seller asks for a wire transfer
You could be the buyer rather than the seller if you sell something online. This can often succeed because it offers a fantastic—but not unbelievable—deal.
When you contact the seller, they will most likely be unavailable for you to pick up the item and will either ship it to you or deliver it directly to you.
You may feel compelled to seal the purchase because it’s such a good offer, but you’ll have to send a wire transfer or digital payment to do so. When you do, the vendor will vanish and become unresponsive, and your order will never arrive.
To avoid this fraud, only buy from trusted vendors on sites with secure payment systems, or wait until you have the item in your hands before making a local purchase—even if it means missing out on a good offer. Use a trusted third-party service instead of a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment to a stranger when making a payment to anyone.
2. Romance Scam
Romance scammers frequently use a phony online persona on social media to entice victims. Once the victims’ hearts and trust have been won, the con artists would claim they are suddenly in need of money due to a medical emergency or some other personal problem.
One of the most common social media scams is the romance scam. People lost $143 million in 2018, according to the FTC, which is more than any other sort of consumer fraud.
A romance or “sweetheart” scam uses a personal connection and a sense of urgency to get victims to wire money to an unknown individual over the internet.
Romance fraudsters frequently target vulnerable persons, such as the elderly or inexperienced adults, and will keep the “relationship” continuing as long as it is lucrative.
This con is based on the development of a connection over time. They’ll need money at some point. The request could be made directly or by implying a financial urgency or problem.
They may ask for a large sum of money or a small amount, but once they’ve established that you’re willing to provide money, they’ll keep inventing new emergencies and hardships. Until you stop sending money, this fraud will continue endlessly. This swindle takes advantage of people’s yearning for personal connection.
To avoid being a victim of this scam, never pay money to somebody you’ve never met in person, and never give out your financial information to anyone.
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3. Scam of a job offer
Online job forums make it easy to find fantastic job prospects, yet scammers hide in the shadows, promising well-paying, readily available jobs.
These frauds can be discovered on social media job forums, or they can even come through as advertising or direct messages to your profile on social media. Scammers have several aims while executing an employment offer scam, including personal information such as your name, address, and even Social Security numbers, as well as collecting payments.
Scammers may offer a sign-on bonus or an application that requires a charge. Other “jobs” may need you to buy a substantial amount of goods or equipment in order to complete the task, with the promise of compensation.
Avoiding an employment scam can be difficult because it targets vulnerable job applicants. It necessitates your ability to appropriately assess a company’s validity and a job offer.
Understand your job skills and expected earnings—illegitimate employment offers can feel too good to be true, providing more than you would expect, or hiring you without a proper evaluation.
Legitimate businesses will not demand you to pay anything in order to get recruited, nor will they ask for much personal information prior to an in-depth interview. If the business appears to be real, conduct your own investigation using the Better Business Bureau, review sites, the local chamber of commerce, or even a secret shopper.
4. URLs that have been hidden or shortened
Short URLs are used in the majority of harmful attacks. While URL shortening services (such as TinyURL) can help conserve space, they can also be used to disguise malicious URLs and trick visitors into believing they are real. You’ll see them all over social media, but because URL shorteners obscure the complete website address, you’ll never know where you’re being directed.
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5. Card Cracking Scams
Another sort of fraud that uses the “easy money” strategy is card cracking fraud. You’ll be asked to produce a debit card, internet credentials to get into your bank account, or a PIN instead of a check.
They may “deposit” worthless checks using a mobile deposit if you give them access to your account, but with your details, they may clear out your bank account with a wire transfer. This is similar to the “easy money” check deposit scam, except you don’t have to do anything. The fraudster may also use your account to relocate other stolen funds and hide evidence of unlawful actions.
6. Buyer Overpay Scam
It’s simple to sell stuff you no longer want or make money selling something you’ve developed using Facebook Marketplace or any comparable online sales site.
A buyer overpayment scam occurs when a potential buyer contacts you to purchase an item you’re selling and then attempts to overpay with a check during the transaction.
The reason for the overpayment can vary, but they’ll eventually ask you to return the excess funds to them or to a “friend” via wire transfer or cash. In the end, their check will bounce, leaving you with the “extra” dollars as well as the item.
Accepting checks for items you’re selling is an easy way to avoid this scam.