Scams are when a cyber criminal contacts you out of the blue and tries to convince you to hand over your personal information or money or gets you to download a virus that infects your device.
Social Media Scams
Social media scams are usually crafted by a scammer to appear genuine, they seem to use official brand logos, T&Cs and almost always include a link to enter your details. Clicking on these links sends your personal information to third parties, while also triggering the share feature to your connections, sometimes with an added status message. Friends and family will then view the post/message and are far more likely to fall for the scam as they consider it coming from a trusted endorsement.
Email scams, also called phishing scams, are becoming increasingly common as fraudsters come up with new tricks to try and steal your personal information and bank details. Emails can look like they are from legitimate companies and be very convincing with what appears to be correct branded, however tone and spelling errors are often a giveaway. In some cases the emails have malicious software attached which can infect your computer, tablet or mobile with a virus.
Mobile app scams
How do you avoid them?
1. Is the deal/news too good to be true?
Do a google search for the headlines/offers. If the company, organisation or brand is promoting a deal on social media, they are likely to also be promoting it on their homepage or reporting it on their website.
2. Look at the URL
Does the URL look suspicious? Does it match the URL of the company website?
Sometimes enticing posts on social media link to a fake login page, and when you enter your email and password, you’re actually giving those details to a scammer. Always check where you are being redirected to.
3. Never share personal information
Never share your personal details with anyone you can’t validate is who they say they are. Phishing emails or phone scammers will often try and get valuable personal data from you, and they can use this to steal your identity or your money.
4. Check the branding and layout
Check the post for branding inconsistencies. Are they using the right logo? Is this the standard of design and care for presentation you usually see from the brand? Check the layout and structure of the email and look at what the email is asking you to do. If it’s a new brand entirely, go to its profile page and have a proper look at how it’s presenting themselves. Do they look professional or does it look like a quick and sloppy job?
5. Contact the company
Send a private message to your friend or family member asking them if they posted the status. They may not have realised the status was going to be automatically published and they may now realise the link they followed was part of scam. But, be careful – they may still think it was genuine.