In 2021, 4.48 billion people were using social media worldwide. While social media is a great way to meet and connect with new people, it’s also one of the easiest ways for hackers to access your personal information.
Why do hackers attack social media?
There are billions of people worldwide with accounts for hackers to take advantage of. It’s relatively low cost and easy for hackers to create fake accounts to use. Because of this, it’s important to be aware of scams on social media and how to avoid them.
Social Media Scraping
Beware of what you’re posting online. Hackers scan social media for any identifying information that can be used to steal your identity. From your full name to your date of birth to even your address, this information can be stolen from public posts and used to open credit cards or take out loans in your name.
With millions of users, social media giants like Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin and Twitter are susceptible to cyber-attacks. Sometimes hackers are able to break through their cyber security and access personal information. Be on the lookout for emails alerting you to data breaches and change your passwords frequently.
Using common phishing techniques, scammers will sometimes create fake accounts that impersonate real businesses. Sometimes they will post fake jobs, offer discounts on products or ask you to complete a survey. Using any one of these techniques, they’ll attempt to get you to share personal or financial information with them or click links to download malware.
Impersonation + Hacking
Instead of creating new accounts, hackers will sometimes get access to an existing account, either with personal information obtained from a data breach or from a user clicking a suspicious link. Hackers will then send messages to friends and followers, so the messages look like they’re coming from a trusted source. In cases like these, hackers will either ask for money or ask them to click a malicious link. In some cases, hackers will then be able to take over your account as well.
Investment scams, especially surrounding cryptocurrency, were one of the top social media scams in 2021. Some scammers will also offer you to “make money quick” or help repair your credit. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If anyone asks for your bank information or credit card numbers on social media, it’s more than likely a scam.
Avoiding Social Media Scams
With so many different scams to watch out for, recognizing scams on social media can be difficult. To keep yourself safe, we recommend following these tips:
- Never click suspicious links. Unless you know that a link is 100% safe, don’t click it.
- Never give out private information online. This includes personal details like first and last name, date of birth and social security number and also bank information. Hackers will use this information to create fake accounts or drain your bank account.
- Avoid posting personal information online. If hackers can’t find your information, they can’t use it against you.
- Follow up with your friends if you receive a suspicious message from them. If someone claims they are having an emergency and need money, try calling them or messaging them on a different platform to verify if they need help or if their account was hacked. If their account was hacked, there is a chance they don’t know yet.
- Change your passwords. If you do click a suspicious link or know your information was in a data breach, changing your password is necessary. Even if your information is safe, it’s recommended to change your password every three months for added security.
If you are afraid that a hacker obtained your information from one of these scams, we recommend signing up for credit monitoring to keep all your accounts in check. For additional protection, contact tech42 to secure your businesses online.