Your money-making expert. Financial journalist, TV and radio personality.
Most people these days will have some form of social media – it’s part of everyday life.
This, however, opens up new ways for fraudsters to scam us so, as with every area of our lives, we must learn to be vigilant.
Here are 5 scams to watch out for on social media –
More and more people are using the #forsale hashtag on Twitter, and Facebook are making it increasingly easy for people to list items for sale in specific Facebook groups.
However, unlike on eBay or Amazon, who offer some protection, Facebook and Twitter are purely a platform and are in no way linked to the transaction being done.
Therefore you won’t be able to appeal to them if anything goes wrong with the exchange.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use social media to buy items, but you do need to be even more vigilant to make sure the transaction is above board and legitimate.
Shorter links are good because they’re easier on the eye and allow Tweets to look short and concise.
However, shorter links do make it much harder, if not impossible, to tell what site you’ll be sent to.
Criminals will take advantage of this to send people to malicious sites with viruses that will infect your computer.
To stay safe, make sure you have antivirus software and don’t click on a short link unless you’re sure of the person or company sharing it.
3. Phishing emails – We’ve spoken about phishing scams before, but social media is another way scammers will try and get your details.
You might one morning get an email saying that someone has tagged you in pictures on Facebook, or sent you a direct message on Twitter.
You’ll click on the link, sign into your account only to realise it’s not the real site – scammers sent those emails and you’ve just given them your social media information.
If you get an email like this check who it’s come from and see if anything is suspicious – if in doubt, don’t open it and instead login your social media account the same way you normally would, bypassing the email.
They might get you to click on a dodgy link or even hand over personal information and, because it’s your friend, you don’t see the danger.
This also happens with emails but there’s something about social media, with the pictures and the more informal setting, that can make people more susceptible to this kind of scam.
If you get a message from your friend asking for personal details or asking you to click a link and it doesn’t feel right, give them a ring and ask if it’s from them – they’ll thank you if it’s not as it means they’re now aware their account has been hacked.
5. Malicious applications – Sometimes dodgy apps appear which offer you the ability to change the colour of your Facebook profile, to see who has visited your page or to see who has recently deleted you.
However these are not official features of Facebook and are almost certainly scams.
Do not give information to these applications or even click the link – you may end up infecting your computer and having your account hacked.
Have you ever been a victim of one of these scams? Maybe there’s one we haven’t mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.