How to Avoid Social Media Scams

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150 150 Claire Archer-Davis

Social Media Scams Blog

Facebook and Twitter are constantly awash with social media scams, drawing people in and then either not delivering, or worse, trying to steal your identity, but with so many cluttering up your daily online feeds, how do you go about spotting a scam?
Not all scams are plotting to steal your personal details; some are set up to get as many ‘likes’ as possible (such as a recent ‘Pool Party Coming to Your Town’ post), before changing the page’s name and details and spamming you with fictitious and fraudulent information.
Whether it’s a ‘free’ trip to Disneyland Paris or an upcoming tour of Ninja Warrior in your local town hall, there are a few things to look out for before you go ‘liking’ that page that looks too good to be true.

Check the spelling
Whether it’s spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, or sentences that just don’t make sense, a proper company will employ people to make sure these things don’t happen. With social media being such big business these days, there’s no way a well-known company will post nonsense on their pages. This is especially pertinent for spelling mistakes in the company’s name; there is no way a genuine company would spell their name wrong. You may need to look quite carefully, to spot the errors, missing letters, or misplaced punctuation are just a few of the warning signs.

Check out the photos
So you’ve looked at the previous posts for spelling mistakes, what next? The next step is to have a look through the photos posted to the page and uploaded to the account. Check for professional looking photographs that aren’t blurred or pixelated, and watch out for the calling cards left by the big companies. For example, an EasyJet page without any orange would seem pretty alarming. However, this isn’t a failsafe way to identify scammers as Photoshop and other software mean the quality of images can be very convincing.

Too good to be true?
If it looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. An all expenses paid trip to Dubai, a brand new Range Rover, or a weekend away to a 5-star resort for every person who ‘likes’ the pay, may not be exactly what they seem. Now be warned, some giveaways are of course real, but it’s worth it to do a little detective work before you get sucked in. Other popular scams include ‘The Facebook Dislike Button’, ‘Get 1000 New Followers’ or ‘See who has Unfriended You’. Again, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Verified for a reason
Social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have a ‘verified’ button for a reason. Look out for the blue tick, to be sure that the company posting is the official page for that business. It’s highly unlikely that a company such as McDonald’s will be using an unverified account!

How many posts do they have?
There is categorically no way that a massive company will only have one post on their social media pages. Unless they are a new business, there is no way that the bigger players will only have a single post shouting about a competition. Also check for how many likes the page has, how long it’s been in existence and what photographs they show on their page.

Check the link
The main way that these scams work is by directing you away from the social media page to a non-related page where you enter your personal details to enter a competition. Check the link that you’re clicking on, and don’t be fooled by a shortening tool like ‘bitly’ that is used to mask the real URL. For the most part, if the competition is legitimate, you would be led to a genuine company website.

Search the real pages
When you see a potential scam, have a search for any more convincing pages that are more likely to be real. Many of the actual pages that are being duplicated share details of scams to avoid and what to look out for. If you’re unsure, it’s always worth double-checking.

When money is involved, it’s always a scam
If anyone is offering you money for anything online, stay well away. Instagram accounts offering their first 100 followers £100 each are obvious scams, as are Facebook pages offering money or vouchers to every single person who likes a post. It just isn’t feasible that a company could give that much money away, and if they did? They would be getting a lot of mainstream press!

Shock value
Be aware of videos or links offering scandalous or shocking results if you click on them. Realistically, a video pretending to show you a horrific car crash or a celebrity sex-tape is usually nothing of the sort. Likewise, for news of “Katy Perry’s Long Lost Love-Child”, or “The Queen’s Secret Life”. Scammers use these click-bait headlines to get you clicking, before showering you with pop-ups and unsavoury images.

The Internet can be a dangerous place, and although it may be fun to share a few snaps of your new puppy, or Snapchat your mates a photo of your super-expensive cocktail, be careful that you’re not sharing anything more personal.
You never know what the links you click on will take you to, or where your information will end up, so it’s best to be vigilant at all times. Luckily, if you follow the above steps, and have a bit of common sense when you’re surfing the net, you should be okay. However, if you do come upon an obvious social media scam, then report it to the website immediately, and you could save a lot of people from falling into the same trap.

If you would like to talk more about how to correctly use social media for your business then please get in touch with us here at The Bright Click on: 08433 832732.

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Claire Archer-Davis

All stories by: Claire Archer-Davis