BBB warns social media users to beware of phishing messages
These days almost every social media outlet allows for private messaging. Even Pinterest recently jumped on the messaging bandwagon. The unfortunate side effect is that scammers are quick to jump on too.
When con artists create emails, links or web pages assuming the identity of a trustworthy source and prompt you to share sensitive personal data, it’s called “phishing”. Phishing is big business for cyber criminals.
Unfortunately, social media is no safe haven. Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin is warning social media users that scammers can use social networks to pose as ‘friends’ through personalized, fraudulent messages to steal your personal information.
How the Scam Works:
A phishing message comes in that appears to be from a friend of a friend, coworker or other connection claiming to know you. The message may even address you by name, but the content is strange. Often they contain misspellings and a link or attachment of some kind. If you click on the link, you could end up downloading malware on to your computer.
Clicking the link or attachment may also hand over your account to a hacker. This is called hijacking. In this case, a scammer can take over your account and send spam to people in your contact list or post spam posing as you.
Some scammers go so far as to set up fake accounts and send out friend requests to gain access to personal information. Others rely on social media users not setting tight privacy settings, so their basic information, such as their name, email address and friends’ names, can be seen by the public.
To avoid phishing scams, BBB suggests the following: