6 Common Social Media Scams to Avoid | Kent State University

6 Common Social Media Scams to Avoid

Followers, friends, circles, links...these terms are now a part of our everyday vocabulary. However, our friends and acquaintances aren’t the only people to take advantage of our growing comfort with social media--cyber criminals and scammers flock to these sites, attempting to relieve you of your personal information. In order to help you avoid falling victim to attack, we’ve put together a list of some of the most common social media scams.

  • "See who's viewed your profile!"

This scam is a form of “clickjacking”, luring you into clicking on a link by promising some sort of desirable incentive, and instead leading to an online survey that will earn a commission for the scammer. Sometimes, the survey will even collect personal information about you, with which the scammer can then use or sell as they see fit. Keep in mind that Facebook does not track this type of information, nor would they share it with the public if they did.

  • Facebook "dislike" button

This scam urges Facebook users to enable a “dislike” button on their account to allow the added capability of “disliking” a post. However, when you click on the ad to “enable” the button, you will either be taken to a survey scam or inadvertently install malware on your device.

  • Free gift cards (commonly for Starbucks, Cheesecake Factory, or Victoria’s Secret)

Offering a “free gift card”, often in return for sharing the original post, this phishing scam attempts to get you to divulge personal information and may also sign you up for services you neither want or need.

  • Fake celebrity news

For example, “Justin Bieber’s been stabbed!”, generally accompanied by an image or photo that seemingly verifies the claim. False celebrity news reports are a relatively assured way to get clicks, but are also a guaranteed method to risk a phishing attempt or get a malware download onto your device.

  • "Your account has been cancelled."

This phishing attempt, seemingly from your social media provider, informs you that your account has been cancelled in order to lure you into providing the scammer with your username and password, which they can then use to access the more detailed information about you located on your social media profile. Remember, if you ever need to verify anything about your account, go directly to your social media site. Never trust the link provided in the message.

  • "Confirm your email account"

Similar to the previous entry, this is a phishing attempt designed to trick users into providing private information, specifically their email address and password.