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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
Southern Arizona
Pinterest is Latest Target for Social Media Scammers, BBB warns
March 06, 2014

As seen previously with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, consumers are now being scammed on Pinterest. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) urges consumers to watch out for con artists who pin spammy products and hack into users’ accounts.

Here’s how the scam works: You get an email from Pinterest, saying that a friend has shared a “pin” (the term Pinterest uses for digital scrapbook image). You open the email and click on the pin, since it seems legitimate. But when you click on the image, you aren’t taken to an online article or real business website. Instead, you are taken to a site selling counterfeit products, promoting fraud work from home jobs or telling bogus news stories.  

“Pinterest is an easy outlet for scammers to access, just like any social media website,” says Kim States, BBB President. “Consumers need to always keep an eye on their Pinterest accounts by reporting suspicious activity online and checking pins before posting.”

Scammers use many techniques to access your Pinterest account. They take advantage of security holes in third party applications that connect to Pinterest (such as those that automatically post to your Twitter) or insert malicious code onto “Pin This” buttons on fraud websites.

Here are ways 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. 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. 
  • 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.

For more advice on scams, visit bbb.org