Top 5 Social Media Scams

Constantly growing online traffic is one of the top reasons behind the increase in the online scams.  As people are becoming more tech-savvy and getting addicted to the Internet, cyber criminals are using all sorts of social networking platforms to increase their grid.

Information about special events or tragedies could be used by hackers and online scammers with malicious intent to conduct social engineering scams, particularly on social media. The current threat scenario presses the need of having a trustworthy Internet security protection in place. While avoiding online scams is necessary, it also helps to know how these scams occur or are conducted. Let’s have a look at the top 5 social media scams on the Internet.

  1. Facebook Video Scams

Online scammers displayed their unforgiving malicious nature by using the tragic news of the Missing Malaysian Flight MH17 as a tool to target social media users.  Hackers used the passengers’ identities and created fake accounts on their names.  They also shared links claiming to show the last footage of how the MH17 crashed. In another incident, scammers cleverly leveraged the tragic news of the Delhi Zoo tragic incident where a man was mauled by a tiger, after he felt into its enclosure.

  1. Malware Attack

FIFA World Cup 2014 was another big opportunity for all attackers. Fans were searching for online tickets, hotel reservations and other related information for travelling to the event. This served as a golden opportunity to most hackers. Several fake websites were created to lure people into getting free or discounted tickets, travel deals, etc. Scammers also tried to trick football fans into installing malware on their system, via videos and images of football stars.

  1. Fake Applications

Several Facebook users were the victims of ‘Facebook Color Changed App’; yet another scam by online scammers. The scam worked by offering users a tutorial video on how to use the color changer app. Android users were tricked into installing the malicious app on their device.

  1. ‘Facebook Unread Messages’ Email Scams

Online scammers sent emails to users claiming that their unread messages on Facebook will be deleted from their account unless they viewed notifications.  Clicking on the view notification tab redirected users to unwanted online financial transaction site or automatically dropped malware on the user system. 

  1. Lottery Scams

A scammer had posted a photo of a lottery winner on Instagram. This was accompanied by a link to urge users to follow the winner to win a lottery. By clicking on the mentioned link, users were redirected to the winner’s profile page where they had to pay some amount of money to get that particular lottery.  A similar type of scam was also running on Facebook around that time.

Some Simple Tips to avoid Social Media Scams:

  1. Keep your web browsers, OS, and other programs up-to-date and patched.
  2. Do not trust any unwanted or unexpected emails, especially those that talk about money.
  3. Always shop and bank on websites that have a secure URL (one that begins with “https://”).
  4. Get a reliable Internet security protection by installing an antivirus software on your PC or Smartphone.
  5. Web Security, Phishing Protection, Email Security, and Browser Sandbox are the essential features of a good antivirus for best Internet security.
  6. Cloud-based email security prevents spam, phishing, and infected emails from reaching your inbox.
  7. Real-time cloud-based web security restricts access to malware-infected, fraudulent and phishing websites. 

Cybercriminals and online scammers always try to stay a step ahead of law and enforcement and IT organizations. When it comes to the world of Internet, it is the unawareness of Netizens that proves to be the biggest challenge. Hence, investing in a reliable web security software can help put your system and its data at a safer place.

About Author:

  • Rajib is a Physics graduate and a technology enthusiast. Besides having an interest in the latest gadgets, he is also into IT security and all that it encompasses.