Anyone active on social media has seen those seemingly harmless quizzes that someone in your newsfeed takes and then shares…the ones that ask you to enter your first name, your middle name and the street you grew up on to create your “new name.” Joe + Schmo + Flower Avenue = your funny name.
Turns out they aren’t so harmless.
A hacker could use any of this info to get past firewalls into your accounts (financial or otherwise) by filling in answers to gain passwords.
They can also use this information to hack into your profile. Then, by controlling your account, they are able to reach out to friends and colleagues, sending messages as you, which can quickly damage your reputation.
According to the FTC, customers in 2021 reported losing about $770 million to fraud that started on social media. That’s an 18-fold increase since 2017 and affected more than twice the 2020 number of customers. In 2021, it affected more than 95,000 people.
Socialcatfish.com ranked Facebook as the most popular platform for online scams.
Other common social media scams include:
- Giveaways, where you’re told you have won but you need to submit payment info to receive your prize
- Profile hacking, where someone poses as an online “friend” and asks for money to get out of a bad situation
- Job offers, where what you think is a legitimate work-from-home opportunity might require you to pay a fee to “start” or guarantee a high paycheck for a menial task
The best way to avoid these scams is to just be wary. Be careful of oversharing online. Does something seem too good to be true? Is your “friend” speaking in an unusual way? Reach out offline. Know that only scammers ask for money via a wire transfer or gift card. And if you really can’t resist a fun online quiz (because everyone else is taking it), just make up the answers.
If you do notice a scam, you can report it to the BBB Spam Tracker and ReportFraud.ftc.gov to help others.
To check if your private data has been exposed to any hackers online, schedule a 15-minute discovery call with our team now. Call us at 951-319-4080.