We have become less sensitive to the happenings and changes that has occurred on social media platforms even as the world keeps evolving. Sadly, we have put in less consideration to these changes on the platforms after being comfortable seeing these platforms as a site for having fun and connecting with people from different spheres on life and backgrounds.
Due to the non-challan attitude towards the platforms, scams and fraud on social media has become a trend. In the first half of 2020, approximately $117 million was reported to have been stolen via social media scams and if we are to compare the rate of social media crimes between 2020 and 2021, there is an increased rate in figures by 50% and it is still growing, just as expected.
It is easy to read, hear and listen to these stories pertaining to social media scams and other crimes in general and still be a victim to these scammers.
One would think that after all the sensitization going on, you won’t be a victim to these crimes but the increasing rate of these crimes has proven otherwise and leaves a loud warning on how people should be skeptical in their interactions on social media platforms and also the strangers we connect with.
These scammers have similar ways of trying to extort from their victims and if careful, these acts can be avoided. Being enlightened on how these scammers work can help everyone navigate their way successfully from being scammed.
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How can you be scammed on Social Media
Below are some examples of ways one can be scammed on social media;
Partaking in quizzes online and Third-party apps
Online quiz scam is one of the trending patterns of the social media scammers. This is done by either launching a strange app that requires your personal information to be given to them without your awareness.
Also, you could be asked security wise questions such as LOG IN security details which makes them less suspicious and also helps them get all necessary information from you and thereby successfully hacking into your accounts.
These quiz questions can come in form of asking you for your street name, the name of your first high school, and all sorts of questions that can make them get personal information about you enough to hack into your accounts.
Also, when registering on a new app, be sure to know that app can be trusted since these scammers are aware majority hardly read the Terms and Conditions normally put out on these platforms before they are agreed to.
Gaining One’s attention through Videos and Pictures
In this type of scam, the scammer sends out messages containing a link requiring you to click because it seems you are the one in the video/picture.
Everyone is always curious about whatever is said about them online so this type of scam works well because curiosity makes us to find out the contents on that particular site and even if we’re asked our log in details, we would not mind inputting it just to know what is at the other end of the site.
We should try not to engage in conversations with people who we don’t know online especially when they come with links and messages we have no idea of in order not to be a victim of these scams.
- Revealed: How to Recognize Phishing Scams and also Avoid Them
Hidden Charge Scams and Frequent Charges
When we get bored, there is every tendency for our last source of fun (especially when there is no money) to be the social media platforms.
Hidden charge scams are always targeted at you during your boring moments where you can be asked to play games on sites and when you’re finished, can be asked to fill in your phone number so your results can be sent to you.
Unknowingly, you could be subscribing for an additional charge that will now be added to your phone bill for every month. They could also use unfinished stories that can make you want to read more and input your phone number to access the remaining parts of the story.
This type of scam is rarely detectable because service providers already bills everyone every month on their cell phones and can take some persons months before they realize that there is an exorbitant extortion on their cell phones.
- Please Read: What you need to know about Pyramid Schemes & How to Spot them
Romance Scams and Emotional Manipulation
This is the most popular type of social media scam. It was limited to only dating apps at the beginning but over the years, these scammers have broadened their horizon to the other social media platforms.
Often, these scammers tend to display a very perfect life profile on these social media platforms which should serve as a red flag when dealing with these categories of persons.
Other examples of warning signals you shouldn’t ignore are; when they begin to give out romantic gestures and feelings that are unusually escalating quickly, when they live miles away from you, claim to have a business that can not be traced or verified or they’re never able to do a video chat due to an unforeseen circumstance.
Although these factors does not draw a conclusion that he/she is a scammer, but these attributes and also trying to forge an emotional connection can also be seen as a red flag.
Furthermore, these scammers take advantage of whatever relationship they’ve formed with you and indirectly starts asking for money for things like Medical bills, bad car, transportation fare to come see you (which you’ll never see them) and such attitudes should be avoided at all costs.
Do not go finding an online boo and be booed by Social Media scammers because these people take serious advantage of people’s emotions and turn it around to favor them.
Shortened URL’s do not show you the contents of the site and as such you are unsure of what you’ll find when you click on these URL’s. The best way to avoid these scams is with the use of EXPAND URL or Google Safe Browsing which shows you the contents of the site.
- Must Read: Top 5 Things You Need to Know About Romance Scams
How to Protect Yourself from Social Media Scams
Be selective about the terms and conditions you agree on especially when you do not have the time to read them. If you’re unsure about the sites and apps, its best you make a thorough research or rather find a more trustworthy alternative.
Keeping your personal information private is one of the best ways to curb Social media scams. You should be very conscious of the sites and apps your cell phone numbers and credit card information goes to. Also, if you do not trust the sites asking for your log in details, please do well not to engage.
Be conscious of who you interact with online. It is a normal approach to follow and be followed on the social media space but we should be conscious especially when these strangers come into the dm trying to form a connection. Also, be wary to know when they want an action from you.
Either to click on a link or to send money to them online. Lastly, keep your social media fun and your information safe.
In conclusion, we should know that these hackers depend majorly on our emotions to successfully get you into their trap so not forming a deep connection with a stranger will keep you at a safer side.
Get in touch with your local agencies in charge of cybercrimes and report cases like these to them in order to curb the crimes on social media.
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