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Anti-social media - Part 2

Posted 17 November 2015

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Do you know the scams to look out for on social media? Read our article to learn what they are and how to protect yourself.


To carry on with our investigation into social media scams, let’s look at online quizzes. If you have a Facebook account you definitely will have seen them. They normally work by promising to reveal something about your personality or comparing you to a celebrity or character from a television show. Although they can be fun to complete and share, beware of the ulterior motives behind some of them. Some of these quizzes are just ways for companies to force advertising your way as part of the quiz, and other times you may suddenly find that you’re asked for money before you can see the results.


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Phishing emails are another scam to be on the lookout for, so called because the scammers are literally fishing for information. What the scammers are looking for here are your personal security details like usernames and passwords. You might receive an email that tells you something has happened on your social network account that you should look at now. You click on the link and it takes you to a landing page that looks like the normal page for the site, but isn’t. You then input your details to log in and then they have what they want. Malware can also infect your machine when you visit the fake site.

How you can protect yourself

So there are a few things to bear in mind when thinking about your security on social sites. First and foremost, be aware of what you’re posting out there. Ask yourself whether what you’re posting could be used maliciously or to identify where you live or your private details.

Never post anything with sensitive and private information on the internet, tell people when you’ll be out or put your address on your profile.

Don’t automatically assume that an email is legitimate if it looks like it has come from a known source – it could be a phishing trap.

Make sure that your anti-virus software is up to date. Have a look at Which? to see the different types that are out there and choose the best protection for you.

Don’t choose passwords that can be easily guessed from viewing your profile on a social media site - those things need to be secure! Click here and learn how to create strong and memorable passwords.

The social network that you’re using probably has privacy features that you don’t know about, so get to know them and use them. And don’t forget about Adblock. This does exactly what it says on the tin and stops unwanted adverts coming your way. It won’t stop unobtrusive ads, but can stop a lot of spam coming your way.

Social media can be great. It can give you the ability to contact lots of people at once, keep up to date with what’s going on in your friend’s lives and share content that you find interesting. But like everything else in life, it can have its down sides too. As the way we behave evolves, it makes sense that criminals will adapt how they target potential victims as well - exploiting our need to be social with their anti-social ways. There’s no need for you to worry too much though. As long as you understand the dangers out there, and take these precautions, there’s no reason why you can’t bring social media sites back to what they should be, fun and useful ways to connect with people.



by Christine Walsh

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