People tell you that you should get on social media so that you can keep in touch with your family and friends. It's great and lots of fun to see what your friends are up to but it is also a great place for digital crooks to prey on those that are unexpecting and too new at this to realize what's happening.
Here are a few tips on some of the most popular social media platforms to keep you from being the next victim:
This platform is all about posting photos and videos, but crooks are able to see who you follow and many post direct messages to you based on your interests to lure you in.
For example, if you follow #Italy, someone may try to lure you into buying a cheap airline ticket to Rome. Unfortunately, it could be a scam just to get your money.
To protect yourself, keep your settings secure on your profile and don't respond to any messages that were unsolicited.
This is a great place to chat with your family and friends, share photos, and even make a phone call. But there have been a lot of reports of scams on this platform lately.
The latest is an Employment scam.
This scam starts by sending you an email offering you a job that will give the first paycheck in advance. You just need to send part of that check back to cover application fees. The job is fake, and the check will bounce, but only after you've sent them fees that are real.
Keep in mind that if a job is real, you'll never have to send them money. Avoid all offers that sound similar to this one.
The platform is supposed to be limited to only your neighbors which makes people feel safer on it. However, there have been reports of fake contractors for hire or car sales.
These crooks want your info so that can then steal your money. Don't fall for it. Always assume that you cannot trust a stranger online, even if they claim to be connected locally.
WORDS WITH FRIENDS
This platform is often the site for romance scams. After playing the game with a stranger, they may say things like, "I'd love to meet you. You're really smart." You may then get told something like, "My son needs surgery. Could you please help?"
To keep your online gaming safe, only play with people you know. If you do play with people you don't know, never give out your financial or personal info.
If you "friend" someone that is a scammer, the crook will have access to your profile and can then clone your account. They may also clone the account of someone you do know and then send you a friend request in an attempt to get access to your account.
Don't accept a friend request from a person that you don't know and never accept a second friend request from someone that you do know without verifying that they have created a new profile.
Social media platforms can be a great way to stay in touch with friends and loved ones, and with the right precautions, can be completely safe. If you're not sure, don't do it.