Social media is one of the biggest gathering sites online of our times. Do you know what hackers love more than black hoodies? A big audience to exploit. This has led to many common social media threats that can ruin your reputation online, steal your information, and generally ruin your life. Let’s learn about them now so that you don’t lose face on Facebook…
Social media scams
Facebook color changing tools
You log into Facebook every single day and see the same old blue. It gets kind of boring, doesn’t it? That’s why it’s so appealing when someone shares a Facebook color changer. Why not spice up your digital life a little bit with some new color?
The reason why not is because you are clicking on a link that is going to download malware onto your computer. It can also allow access to your Facebook profile so that all of your friends can be spammed.
This is one of those social media threats in action. It is going to prompt you to click a link to download. Whatever you do, do not click that link. Seriously. Don’t do it.
To combat this you need to:
- Regularly change your strong password
- Remove any old apps that have access
- Never trust a third party notification or app to download
- Do research on any sources before you download
Facebook has one of the biggest audiences in the world. Hackers are always coming up with new ways to get you to do things that you should not on Facebook. We’ll see several more throughout this article.
See who viewed your Facebook profile scam
You can commonly see this displayed in what looks to be an official Facebook ad. It can also be shared by one of your old friends. This usually happens when they have clicked on that ad from someone else who has shared it.
Anyone who clicks on it instantly gives hackers access to their Facebook account, and their network of friends. It keeps spreading and spreading and the end goal is usually malware distribution. It can also be used to distribute a botnet.
You always have to be aware of suspicious links, even if they are shared by your friends who may be infected. You also need to stop and think about whether or not the social media app would want that sort of functionality, and why it isn’t just part of their app rather than a third-party.
NSFW video scams
This is a scan that you’ll see on pretty much every social media site. There will be some video making an outrageous claim, with a screen capture, and little else. It happens with celebrities, it happens with the most taboo of topics, it could be a screenshot from a murder scene, anything to get a click for pure curiosity.
What you don’t realize is that you never see the video. You’re usually sent to some random survey, or a fake website that’s going to ask for your personal information before they show you the video that does not exist.
First off, you need to develop your bullshit detector already. It’s probably not a one hour sex tape from Selena Gomez. Okay? Just get over it.
The next thing you need to do is that if you truly are curious there will be some sort of video available if you search through Google. If it’s from a trusted source, you can watch it. If it isn’t, move on are be infected. Those are your choices.
Instant Twitter and Instagram followers
We all dream of the moment that we are going to be Twitter famous. As our numbers shoot higher and higher so does out infamy. If only there was a single button to push to get that notoriety…
That is where the Twitter instant follower scam comes from. These are usually bots that take over control of your Twitter account and force your account to follow other accounts which are being forced to follow you. You don’t get famous, you just get taken over.
This is another instance where an unverified, or third-party, app is trying to give you something which is nearly impossible. Any quick fix solution is either going to be faulty, or worse it is going to be from a hacker. If you’re not paying for it… You’re paying for it.
I just saw a photo of you scam
This is primarily on Twitter, but it did spread to other social media sites. The goal is for you to click on them impulsively to see what is going on. It is designed to spread malicious links.
This scam usually looks to hijack control of your Twitter account and spam your followers. If any of your friends have tried to sell you Ray-Ban sunglasses, this is probably what it was. It can also send you to phishing scam sites.
This is another instance where your best protection is not being tempted to click the link. It is nothing but a scam. If you are truly paranoid about there being photos of you then you can do a Google Image Search. You can also do a Google search for your own name.
To lessen the chance of this happening you can make your profile private. You can also not follow back people that you don’t know.
Naked Facebook video scam
This usually appears as an ad on Facebook. You are told to click on the link to see some celebrity naked. You click on the link and it sends you to a fake YouTube video. But then the site crashes and the message pops up saying that your Adobe Flash Player is the problem. You are prompted to download Flash Player… But it is malware. Usually a Trojan which is going to install a browser extension.
The extension will usually take access of your Facebook photos, and send this same thing to all of your friends. Worst of all, you never see a naked celebrity…
You need to do some research to find out whether or not it’s going to be real. 99 times out of 100 it’s fake. There are much more reliable websites to find pictures of nudity. Go there.
The Tumblr dating game scam
For all those single people that don’t want to be single, this can be a pretty tricky scam. These social media scams usually show up in direct messages. You click on them and sometimes they go to a porn site, sometimes they go to advertisements. The advertisements help the scammers make money.
All you get is loneliness.
For starters, there are many, many online dating sites. Go sign up on a reliable one and don’t fall for this social media scam. If you do get one of these messages be sure to block the account and report it. This will protect you incase one lonely night you get a little too drunk to not click on it, and it will protect others.
Pinterest pin scams
Most people think of Pinterest as an interesting place to hang out, and don’t really think about social media scams. They are a perfect place for hackers because they know that people aren’t really paying attention, and they know that people will click on pins instinctively to learn more.
The links will usually be hidden in some sort of sale, offer, or coupon pin. Once you click on it you will either go to a fake survey, or phishing scam. It will also typically be able to access your followers and spam them.
This is another instance where are you have look before you click. Most browsers will display the address you’re thinking about clicking on either in the bottom left or the top right-hand corner if you hover over it. View it before you click, if you don’t trust it then don’t click.
You also need to report suspicious users to Pinterest. Protect yourself and protect others.
Avoid social media scams
If you’re an adult, you should be able to avoid these scams with common sense. For those with children, please review these pointers with your kids to protect them online. They can compromise your machine and in turn compromise you.
The scams above are the most prominent right now, but hackers and scammers will come up with new ones. Stay vigilant as you use social media and avoid these scams as they develop.