The Internet is a vast platform that gives us solutions to various problems. From ordering groceries, interacting with friends and family, and working, we spend ample time on social media networks. We often seem not to consider the amount of information we put on the Internet. Many private details are on our accounts, from basic details like our name, birth date, and place of residence to sensitive information about our whereabouts through social media posts. Hence, it is essential for us to stay safe from online scam.
The growing impact that social media has on us demands our attention towards the frauds that come with it. Therefore, many forms of online fraud exist in the digital community today. Have you ever gotten suspicious friend requests or links that redirect you to another site? These are common ways people cheat people on the Internet.
Although very helpful, social media platforms can pose a threat if individuals using them are not cautious. To make it a good experience, one should be aware of social media’s risks and know how to avoid them. This article discusses the most common internet fraud examples, social media spoofing, and how to stay safe from online scams.
What Is A Social Media Scam?
Social media has undeniably become a very crucial aspect of our lives. We live in a digital age, where we depend on social media platforms for even the bare minimum. Certain malicious elements on the Internet are trying to scam us and steal our personal information. And as we provide personal details of ourselves on social media platforms, we become an easy target for these scams. Social media fraud occurs for several reasons-people are trying to get our data to extract money from us, get hold of personal data for identity theft, etc.
Common Types Of Social Media Frauds
Social media platforms are beneficial for us to stay connected to our loved ones and expand our business. But, the Internet is also unpredictable and vast. We often find cyber criminals and scammers who aim to cheat on us and get our private information. But, if we use the Internet cautiously, we need not worry about the risks and can use social media platforms without stress. Here are the most common social media frauds you must look out for.
People on social media sites tend to engage with strangers very often. Interacting with strangers is one of the biggest reasons for social media fraud. People often accept friend requests from random profiles, giving people access to their private information. It is wise that one keeps their social media account very private and only interacts with people they know personally to avoid social media impersonation. In an attempt to expand our circle, we can fall prey to one of these scams.
Free App Downloads
Another way scammers can get our personal information is through free app download links. Scammers tend to provide links with “free application download,” which attracts people trying to download the app. Clicking the link can be very dangerous as it can extract private information about us from our devices. Hence, we should only download verified applications from the app store or play store. Another way of downloading apps is through the official website of applications. We should refrain from downloading anything from third-party websites.
There are many things you can do on social media platforms. One of the things people engage in most is games and quizzes. Often, you need to log in to a third-party website to play quizzes, which can leak private information about you. Sometimes, sharing information from the original social media platform to the third-party website occurs through permission. When we click “allow” without reading the terms and conditions, the third-party application might get information from your account on the social media platform.
Some URLs on the Internet that seem authentic are fake and made by scammers who want to retrieve private information from users. Hidden URL scams are becoming more common on the Internet, and many people are getting fooled by web addresses that resemble authentic sites. Scammers use the information you enter on the fake website to get private information and exploit it. Therefore, you should cross-check the sites you visit and always be cautious of fake web addresses.
How To Stay Safe On Social Media?
With most of us having accounts on various social media platforms, we must be aware of precautions that we must take to safeguard our personal information from fraudsters. The Internet is a vast place with many risks, but one should not stop themselves from using social media platforms as they give us solutions to various problems and can be very helpful. Below are a few things to keep in mind while using social media platforms that will ensure your safety.
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
The most important thing to ensure while using social media sites is that you sign up to them using strong passwords. It is also advisable that you change your passwords frequently. Many people use the same password for all their social media accounts which simultaneously compromises all their accounts.
Therefore, you should not only use strong passwords for your social media accounts, but you should also use different passwords for multiple social media accounts. It would be best if you also changed the passwords periodically.
Don’t Post Personal Details
We often don’t anticipate the dangers of social media. Many activities in our daily lives now depend on the Internet. We use social media platforms without anticipating the probability of scams and post personal details everywhere.
Everything is on our accounts, from minor details such as our name, age, and place of residence to sensitive information about our lives. This information can be subjected to scams and get leaked to third-party users. It is wise we remove this information and use social media to only interact with our friends safely to avoid online fraud.
Make Your Accounts Private
Another precautionary practice we should follow while using social media is to keep our accounts private. We often tend to interact with various people through the Internet, which can be dangerous. Our followers can see our posts when we post updates about our lives on social media accounts.
Suppose this information falls into the wrong hands. In that case, scammers can use it to track our whereabouts and threaten our safety. Social media sites provide us with the perfect opportunity to connect with more people, but we should consider the risk involved. We should only interact with people we know and make our accounts private to ensure our safety.
Stay Away From Strangers
The Internet is a beautiful place to interact as it offers a unique opportunity to interact with people worldwide. But when it comes to personal accounts, one should refrain from befriending strangers on the Internet. We might never know a person’s true intentions, and in the case of social media, we can not even be sure of the identity of profiles of strangers.
People often set up fake profiles to trick us into getting our private information or even extract money from our accounts. Hence, it would help if you stayed away from strangers while using social media platforms.
Do Not Use Public Wi-Fi
Public wifi lets you connect to the Internet without a password, which is highly dangerous for you as it is not secure. Another possible fraud through public wifi is that fraudsters often set up their hotspot by naming it similar to public wifi and using that to steal data from strangers. Public wifi can be an easy way to get hacked and become prey to cyber crimes. Hence, you should avoid using public wifi.
What To Do If You Face Social Media Fraud?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, social media scamming statistics show that social media scams nearly tripled in 2019. Even with the abovementioned precautions, you can become a victim of online fraud. Although this can cause panic, one should always remain calm. If you have been in a social media fraud, you should do the following.
Report On The Official Site
The first thing you should do is to report the incident on the site itself. Social media platforms have a complaint portal that lets you report any issues you might face while using the site. Social media platforms have specific rules that are kept in check, and in case these laws are broken, they have ways to help an individual cope with the losses they might have faced.
Hence, you must complain and shed light on your issue. Social media platforms usually take a few days but eventually get back to you. Once they do, you can send a detailed email about what you went through, and the social media platform can help you regarding the next steps.
Cifas is an organization that works towards reducing fraud. It safeguards individuals from scams and sheds light on the issue of social media impersonation. Cifas does this with the help of technology and works with you to detect any possible scams that pose a threat to you. After the detection, it helps you overcome the issue.
The more our social media platforms grow, the more risks are involved. This is one of the major disadvantages of social media. Hence, it is necessary that you safeguard your life and the sensitive information that you publish on your social media accounts. We at Clocr believe in offering you the services that will help you to safeguard your interests, especially when it comes to cementing your digital legacy.
From preparing a social media will to prevent misuse and identity theft of your social media account to providing you a secure digital vault to store your crucial documents; Clocr is always here to offer you the best solutions.