In the spirit of reminding people to be careful what they go on the Internet, I present to you the most common types of social network scams. This is a commentary based on a slideshow I saw today concerning Facebook frauds at The Huffington Post. Some of these might seem really obvious, but it never hurts to be reminded.
It also reminded me why some promotional contests, sweepstakes, and polls also come with a certain element of distrust. Even though most of us would never consider doing these things, it’s good to know why some get a bad rap.
When on a social network site, you could become enticed by these types of fraud as seen on Facebook:
- Copy and paste schemes (a.k.a. “clickjacking.”) – A screen pops out and on that screen is a code that the malicious user wants persons to copy and paste into the browser bar. When you do, it infects your computer and the attacker is able to access vital information.
- False polls and questionnaires – Beware if you see a quiz, survey, poll, or questionnaire that requires you give out your mobile phone number. They could be collecting your personal information before you give your opinion or answer your question. If you’re not careful, they can accumulate charges on your account.
- Phishing scams – Con artists often use convincing messages to try to get you to give up your profile password. More than likely, the page will resemble the site you typically visit. Usually you are presented with an urgent matter that requires your immediate attention but in order to fix the issue you have to give up your password.
- Phony urgent messages – If you see any notices by “The Facebook Team” or “Facebook” beware. It usually requires you to take some “urgent action.” Do not click on any links you see in these e-mails, because they could contain malicious viruses. Report the sender and delete the messages without clicking on anything. If you can view messages through a preview pane, that would be best.
- The money transfer scam – Usually the person sending this message sounds desperate. They usually say they have some kind of check they want you to cash in exchange for money via Western Union. They usually take the money and you never hear from the person again. This popular fraud is often seen on dating sites, but major social media sites have been hit as well.
- False friend requests – Before you accept a friend request, you may want to ask the person to remind you how you both met. If you don’t get a reply or you get one that doesn’t make sense, it’s probably a bot. It also could just be someone trying to access you from a fake account for the purpose of spamming.
- Page scams – Be careful. If you are asked to join a page, it could come from an untrustworthy source. The intention usually is to direct you through some kind of phishing or clickjacking scam as you might see on popular social sites.
- Malicious apps – These also are known as rogue apps. They appear to be legitimate, like the one Twitter has. You might also have apps that connect your sites together to help you reach a larger audience. Experts suggest that you take caution when choosing which apps you connect to your social network pages. Some of them could spread viruses, spyware, and other malicious content to try to steal your identity.
- False Adobe Flash update – Otherwise known as a Koobface worm, the main purpose of it is to download a virus in the guise of telling you to update your Flash player. This is one more way to collect your personal data and use it for evil.
This is Not Just On Facebook
The focus of the original article from which I found this information was focusing specifically on Facebook. However, these scams could happen on any site you join. For instance, if you are a member of eBay, eHarmony, Google Plus, Orkut, Myspace, LinkedIn, you could be a fraud victim. You have to be careful.
- License: Royalty Free or iStock source: I bought it at istock.
Written by Erin Walsh
By Erin Walsh, the Director of Public Relations for Boost Software. She is an avid blogger that enjoys sharing her knowledge with the everyday computer user, by helping them speed up their slow computer, clean up their pcs, update their registries, and identify and update drivers. You may find more of her blog posts at PC Health Boost.