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” (the term Pinterest uses for a digital scrapbook image) 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. Common scam pins include celebrity and beauty photos, giveaway offers, before and after diet pictures 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’ 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, 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. They are not affiliated with Pinterest.
Be careful about linking your account to other social media. If scammers get in, they easily can share spam pins on your Twitter and Facebook feeds too.
Check 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.
Melanie Duquesnel is president and chief executive officer of the Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.