Protect Yourself from Social Media Scams
Social media provides a great way for us to stay connected with family, friends, and colleagues, but it also provides access to a vault of information that can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Social media is a common hunting ground for scammers because users can unknowingly share a wealth of personal details that hackers dream of. The best way to protect your information is to arm yourself with knowledge and learn the red flags of these common social media scams.
You’ve probably seen those chain questionnaires or quizzes that friends share on social media, but you may not realize the information those “games” use is the same information commonly used for account protection and password recovery. Information like your first pet’s name, the street you grew up on, the first concert you went to, and so on. What may seem like harmless entertainment can put your information out there for the wrong people to see. As fun as it may seem, you’re safer NOT playing games when it comes to your personal information.
Hacked Account Scams
Hacked account scams are when someone you know has their social media account hacked by someone who sends messages posing as your friend, usually asking for money. If you receive a message from a friend asking for money, contact them directly via phone or in person to verify it’s actually them asking. Chances are their account has been hacked and you’ll be doing them a big favor by confirming the request is legitimate.
You are probably familiar with the concept of catfishing, wherein someone pretends to be someone else online, often for the purpose of developing relationships. Romance scams are a particularly insidious form of catfishing as these scams are carried out with the intent to cause emotional as well as financial devastation. These scams may go on for quite some time, all the while building a trust and connection. Once trust is established, the scammer will begin to ask for money, often fabricating stories of some hardship they are facing. These stories can become quite outlandish and drawn out as a means to justify continued requests for more money. Once their requests are finally denied, or their target has been drained of all financial support, or sometimes even as soon as the first request for money is met, the love interest disappears. You should never give money to someone you haven’t met without first verifying their identity, if not in person then at least over video chat or phone call.
Fake Charity Scams
Another particularly wretched type of social media scam is fake charity scams. These often pop up and spread around through friend shares following a major tragedy, natural disaster, or some other terrible event, offering opportunities to donate to a charity in need of support. Unfortunately scammers lie in wait to prey on people’s natural instincts to help those in need. Be sure to always verify an organization from their website and rely on compiled lists of credible non-profits rather than following links from social media posts.
Sweepstakes, Lottery, and Prize Scams
These types of scams notify you of a large sum of money or other awesome prize you’ve won, but then ask for a fee or payment in order for you to claim it, usually via wire transfer. But remember, if you never entered, you couldn’t have won. If you’re alerted of a prize you’ve won on social media, be very skeptical.
Investment Scams and Job Offer Scams
Claims of significant returns on a small initial investment or guaranteed profit should raise a red flag. If someone contacts you offering a disproportionate return on your investment, or promising exceptional payment for simple work tasks, be very skeptical. Especially if they attempt to pressure you with a limited-time offer. If it seems too good to be true, it almost always is. Don’t blindly pay for starter kits or send money to strangers no matter how good the opportunity sounds.
Credit Repair Scams
Be cautious of claims for a new credit identity. Credit repair scams promise quick fixes to your credit report, as long as you send the scammers money. If you need help rebuilding your credit, the U.S. Department of Justice publishes a list of credible credit counselors. Don’t accept offers for affordable credit repair through social media channels without verifying their legitimacy first.
Always remember that if something seems suspicious or too good to be true, it probably is. Never give money or personal information to someone you don’t know.
Robins Financial Credit Union will never contact you on social media to request account information. If we contact you on social media for any other purposes, it will only be through one of our official accounts listed below:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/robinsfinancial
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/robinsfcu
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/RobinsFCU
If you suspect your account information has been compromised, report it to us immediately at 478-923-3773.
Robins Financial Credit Union is committed to protecting the safety and security of our members. To learn more about how we protect our members every day, give us a call or stop by any of our branch locations.