Just like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before it, Pinterest is becoming a new outlet for scammers. Watch out for con artists who access users' accounts and pin spammy products.
How the Scam Works:
You get an email from Pinterest. It says a friend has shared a "pin" with you. The email and link seem legitimate, so you click on it.
The image is different from what your friend typically pins, but it looks real (see example spam pin at left). Common scam pins include celebrity and beauty photos, giveaway offers, before and after diet pics and even infographics. The images always have tantalizing captions that urge you to click.
But when you click on the image, you aren't taken to an article or the real business's website. Instead, you find yourself at a site selling counterfeit products, featuring a bogus news story or promoting work from home opportunities, among others.
Scammers use many techniques to gain access to your account. They may take advantage of security holes in third party applications that connect to Pinterest (such as those that automatically post your pins on Twitter) or insert malicious code into the "Pin This" buttons on other websites.
How to Keep Your Pinterest Account Secure:
Report the pin. Spot a spam pin? Report it to Pinterest by clicking the flag icon at the bottom of the image.
Change your password. If you suspect someone hacked your account or you used a malicious app, be sure to reset your password. Do this by clicking your name at the top of Pinterest. Then, click Settings. Follow the prompts to create a new, more complex, password.
Log out of your account. Don't stay logged into Pinterest when you aren't using it.
Watch where you log in. Only log in on Pinterest.com and the official mobile app. Avoid look alike sites that use a domain name like www.pinterest.something.com. These are not affiliated with Pinterest.
Be careful about linking your account to other social media. If scammers get in, they can easily share spam pins on your Twitter and Facebook feeds too.
Inspect before you pin. Before you repin, take a second to hover on the image and check that destination link corresponds with the info on the pin. Scammers have been replacing the links in popular pins with links to websites housing malware.
For More Information: Check out Pinterest's tips for keeping your account secure.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses and brands they can trust. In 2013, consumers turned to BBB 131 million times for Business Reviews on more than 6.5 million businesses, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Mexico and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.
Paula Fleming is VP of Communications & Marketing for Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT. Find Paula on Google+.