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Consumer Updates

Trick or Treat? Spot the scary social media scams

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November 2, 2011 | 1,594 views | Post a comment

AUSTIN, Texas -- With millions of users worldwide, social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are unquestionably popular, but Better Business Bureau warns users may be the target of social media scammers.

“Many social media users don’t take the right precautions to protect their identities while online,” said Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO of BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin. “But users need to be aware that scam artists are savvy and use clever methods to trick consumers into clicking on potentially malicious links.”

BBB advises social media users to be on the lookout for these five common social networking scams:

Fake Friends
Not all friend requests come from real friends, or real people for that matter. Some Facebook accounts exist solely to cast a wide net for spamming or extracting personal data from users. Only accept friend requests from people you know.

Questionable Quizzes
Clicking on an ad or a link that takes you to a questionnaire on a website outside Facebook can lead to unwanted results. In many cases, the quiz may ask you to enter your cell phone number before you can view your results. If the scammers get your number, they can use it to subscribe you to unwanted and expensive text messaging services.

Terrible Tweets
Direct messages may appeal to your vanity with a message that suggests you can be seen in a compromising or flattering way at a certain website. The link to the website downloads malware to your computer.

Grim Gifts
Clickjackers on Facebook entice you to copy-and-paste text into your browser bar by posting tempting offers, leading users to inadvertently download malicious code. Clickjackers then take control of your account, spamming your friends and further spreading their scam. Be suspicious of any too-good-to-be-true offers, such as free coffee or pizza from well known retailers.

Viral Videos
Videos with sensational headlines get users to visit an outside website and download malware in the disguise of a video player. If you click on the video, you will be prompted to “upgrade your Flash player now” and will then be asked to download a file which contains a “worm”. If you download and install the file, your computer will automatically log in to Facebook and send similar messages to your friends. Never download a file after clicking on a link.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.

About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.

Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.

Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.
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