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Twitter Goes Public; New Scams likely as Scam Artists Seek a Piece of the Pie
November 12, 2013

Twitter is now a public company, but it could mean changes to get used to for individuals on the social media site. The result could be similar to what occurred following the IPO offering from Facebook; fake users and scams!

Three years ago, Twitter started rolling out ad revenue strategies, introducing advertisements for products and services as tweets. The proliferation of advertisements on your Twitter strand will likely become more apparent following the company’s decision to go public. More ads would mean more ad revenue for the company.

Shortly after Facebook became a publicly-traded company, new varieties of scams started appearing on the social site. Scam artists saw an opportunity to capitalize on ad revenue and cash in. Scammers set up fake Facebook pages for individuals and organizations promising fake giveaways like free trips or charitable offerings.

For example, these individuals would post a picture of a child that played with your emotions and then offered a donation to a charitable fund for each “like” the picture received. The goal was to get people to “like” a page enough that it built up page popularity or “EdgeRank.” The promises weren’t fulfilled because the owners of the now-popular Facebook page would sell the page to another company or individual and they would acquire an instant presence in the social media world.

The introduction of Twitter’s IPO could bring about new strategies to cultivate ad revenue in ways not yet known on the social media site. Twitter already offers sponsored tweets, accounts and even certain hashtags. It’s only a matter of time before scammers think up the next money-grabber and what’s a better platform to try it on than one with millions of users and ad revenue waiting to be tapped?

Your BBB offers tips on how to identify and avoid these types of scams on popular social media sites:

Make sure the page you “like” or the link you click is the page of the actual company or person. Many times scammers will create fake pages of popular celebrities and organizations in an attempt to gain popularity. Do a quick search on the social media site to see if the person or organization has another page, with a significant more amount of “likes.” On Twitter, check to see if the person/organization is “verified by Twitter” and also if there is another twitter handle that has more followers.

Misspelled words and poor grammar in company’s costs are also red flags. Roll over the link to see if it actually links to the company’s or individual’s website. Also, check to see if the message urges you to “respond quickly” or “click a link right away.” The rush-to-action pleas on social media are indicative of a scam.

Scammers can also strike through personal messages on Facebook and Twitter, including phishing links that will download harmful malware and steal personal information. Check the sender of the message and no matter what the message says, never give out usernames, passwords or personal information. The company has issued warnings about phishing on Twitter for the last several years, trying to educate users to identify spam messages that could be harmful to your computer and potentially steal personal information.

For more information on social media scams, visit www.bbb.org.

***Special thanks to Caitlin Driscoll, Public Relations Director for the Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania for this informative article.