Social Media Scammers and the Lack of Cyber Security to Keep Them at Bay
Updated: Sep 9
It’s probably not surprising to you that there are plenty of people out there using social media as their main platform to scam others. What may be surprising, however, is how often these scammers manage to get away with it even after being caught red-handed by social media sites themselves. Unfortunately, some of the biggest platforms are doing little to curb this problem and are instead focusing on the potential monetary gain that scammers offer them. So what do you need to know about Social Media Scammers? And what can you do to protect yourself against them?
The State of Social Media Scams in 2022
How Safe is Your Personal Data? As 2021 came to a close, we wanted to look back on how cyber crime has evolved and where it is today.
When social media first started gaining popularity in 2006, it wasn’t uncommon for criminals to use fake profiles to make contact with people. These criminals were operating in a new space, which gave them many advantages. No one really knew what could be done with social media yet (and no one really knows now), so there weren’t any formal regulations or rules about user content. Because social networks weren’t regulated like they are today, scammers had free reign in trolling for victims and finding ways around any security measures on these sites.
Today, however, things have changed quite a bit. In fact, according to our research team at SymantecTM NortonTM Threat Research Labs (TRL), by 2028 online crime will decrease by nearly 50% due to increased awareness and increased security on social media platforms.
Here’s why: Increased Awareness Increased education about cyber crime has led users to become more aware of potential threats from strangers online. This heightened awareness has led users to take preventative measures that help keep their accounts safe from harm—for example, setting up two-factor authentication or setting up an alert when someone tries to log into their account from an unknown location.
Newer Platforms: Even though Facebook still holds top spot as the most popular social network, newer platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat have taken over some of its functions and left behind some vulnerabilities. For example, Instagram allows you to post photos without captions or hashtags (which can be used to spread malicious links) while Snapchat lets you send private messages directly to friends. The lack of regulation means that these new features can easily be exploited by scammers looking for quick access to your personal information without much effort on their part.
Newer Technology: The advancements in technology over recent years have made it easier than ever before for cyber criminals to steal data from unsuspecting users without being detected. While certain tools may not seem harmful at first glance, once hackers get their hands on them they can use them to infiltrate social media accounts and steal personal information. For example, AR applications (such as Pokémon Go) allow users to interact with virtual characters in real time using a smartphone camera—but hackers have found ways to trick these apps into giving away your exact location and phone number.
What Does This Mean for Social Media Users? By 2028, it’s likely that we’ll see even greater improvements in cybersecurity across all major social media platforms. However, until then here are some tips for staying safe: Don’t share too much info : We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Sharing too much info online makes you vulnerable to theft of identity. It’s better to be safe than sorry. If you have something to say, say it without revealing your identity. And don’t use words that can identify you personally, like your name or where you live. (Think about it: if a stranger on social media asks for that kind of information, they’re probably trying to scam you.)
Why These Sites Are So Attractive To Criminals
There are some really interesting stats that show why scamming on Social Media sites has become such a common thing. For example, Twitter currently has 313 million active users who tweet 679 million times per day. (1) It’s no wonder these types of websites are so attractive to criminals! That being said, it is also important to note that many sites like Facebook have made efforts in recent years to improve security for their users by implementing things like two-factor authentication and other safety features. Unfortunately, there are still many social media platforms out there which have not taken security seriously enough yet.
While it might be tempting to ignore cyber crime and cyber scams as just another online problem, remember that every time you use one of these services you put yourself at risk. Even if you aren’t worried about identity theft or credit card fraud happening to you personally, what about your friends? Your family? They could be vulnerable too! As a result, take time today to spread awareness about how dangerous social media scams can be – even if they seem relatively harmless when compared with real-world crimes like robbery or assault. And don’t forget to follow up with loved ones to make sure they know how to stay safe on social media. The more people we can educate about cyber security, the better off we all will be!
3 Ways To Protect Yourself From Social Media Scams: There are three simple steps you can take to protect yourself from social media scams:
1. Be careful about sharing personal information
2. Be wary of any too good to be true offers
3. Watch out for fake giveaways, contests, etc..
Let’s look at each step in more detail:
1. Don’t Share Personal Information On Social Media Sites If you want to avoid becoming a victim of social media scams, then never give away your personal information on these sites. Whether it’s your name, email address, phone number or full address – never give out anything that someone could potentially use against you later. Remember that once something is posted online it can be difficult (if not impossible) to remove later. This means that even if you think nothing bad will happen now, it may come back to haunt you later down the road. Also keep in mind that while most of us do our best to maintain privacy on social media sites, sometimes we accidentally share too much information without realizing it. So always double check before hitting post!
2. Avoid Too Good To Be True Offers & Contests In general, if something seems too good to be true then chances are it probably is! With that in mind, if you see an advertisement on social media that promises to give you thousands of dollars, free gift cards, or unbelievable prizes of any kind, it’s probably a scam. Just because it’s advertised on social media doesn’t mean it’s legit! Likewise, if you are ever asked to pay money to enter a contest or giveaway, be very cautious. Never send money to anyone unless you can verify that they are legitimate and trustworthy. This is especially true if you are told that you must send money in order to win a prize. If you’re not sure about whether or not a social media site is trustworthy, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution and avoid doing business with them.
3. Be Wary Of Fake Giveaways, Contests, Etc... Social media scams can be hard to spot at first glance because they are often disguised as legitimate posts or advertisements. However, if you take a closer look you will often be able to tell that something is fishy. For example, if you are ever asked to fill out a survey or provide personal information in exchange for a free prize, it’s almost certainly a scam. Legitimate companies don’t ask for your personal information in exchange for gifts or prizes – they simply give them to you!
How The Biggest Platforms Can Help
Social media platforms, like Twitter and Facebook, have been called out for their shortcomings in dealing with online abuse. Social networks are a hotbed for scams—users steal pictures from other users, use fake names and extort money from other users—and these platforms haven’t taken adequate measures to prevent it or help victims. It’s time for Twitter, Facebook and others to work harder in thwarting cyber crime. And when they do, these social media companies should be as transparent as possible about how they’re handling abusive accounts so that we can hold them accountable if they don’t make strides quickly enough. In addition, users who see abusive behavior on social media should take steps to report offenders immediately. By working together, tech companies and consumers can keep scammers at bay and put an end to cyber crime once and for all.
Some much needed security updates the platforms shoul consider:
Varify user identites: Smaller platforms such as Parler.com have started doing this. Anyone cam make an account but you have the option to varify yourself as a legit person which opens up other functions on the platform. More friends, private messiging , length of vidoes and other functions that a non varified account has. The down side: The companies take a hit with how many users they have, however, what’s more important having real users or numerous fake account to drive up the cost of ad space. The Upside: security minded users will flock to sites that keep them safe.
Varify business accounts: Again legit business have no issue varifing themself with state docs. This includes online only businesses.
What Is Being Done To Counteract This Growing Crime?
Social media cyber scams will always be with us; there is no doubt about that. With social media sites making so much money through their presence online, they have very little incentive to address cyber crime. As more people use these platforms, we will see an increase in hacking attempts, cyber scams, identity theft, etc. People need to remain vigilant when it comes to their internet presence – including Facebook accounts – but relying on social media companies to do anything is a waste of time. That said, if you’re seeing unusual activity in your Facebook account – or any other account – make sure you change your password and look into getting a new email address that isn’t associated with your account in any way. You should also consider turning on two-factor authentication for your most important accounts, as well as signing up for text alerts from Google when someone logs into one of your Google apps. In addition to keeping tabs on what’s happening with your personal information, you should also take steps to protect yourself against cyber scams in general. If something sounds too good to be true (and it’s coming from a stranger), don’t fall for it! The best thing you can do is educate yourself before something happens and arm yourself with knowledge once things start going wrong. Check out our guide to social media security for more tips and tricks for staying safe online. And if you’d like to learn more about how cyber criminals operate, read our overview of common cyber crimes . For even more advice on how to stay safe online, check out our complete guide to digital safety . And remember: just because you’re using Facebook doesn’t mean everyone else is using Facebook. So be smart and pay attention to what’s going on around you while you’re surfing. Be aware of potential threats before they become real problems.
Here’s How You Can Protect Yourself From Social Media Scams
Be skeptical of any pop-up notifications you get on your smartphone or in your email—especially if they tell you that someone is following you on Instagram. The chances are, if it’s a scammer or hacker, they’re using an app with a built-in fake alert so that when you go to check who’s following you, it’ll look like one of your friends is behind it. These types of scams have been around for years now, and yet social media sites remain lax about dealing with them; in fact, Facebook even has a policy that requires people report phishing accounts before having them taken down. This makes it easy for scammers to operate under false pretenses. To protect yourself from these sorts of attacks, make sure you keep your phone up-to-date and turn off any push notifications from apps that don’t need them (like Twitter). Also be wary of clicking links sent via SMS messages or emails—they could be designed to send malware directly to your phone. And if you want more tips on how not to fall victim to online scams, read our guide here .
Please note even Facebook, Instagram (Meta), Twitter and other sites have people saing they are from the company. These are unvarified accounts while the real accounts are all varified with the blue checkmark. Block and report has become a favorite montra as of late in dealing with these account.
Conclusion & Our Take On The Subject
It’s no secret that we’re increasingly connected. In fact, social media has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a way for people to connect with others like them. Through social media, we are able to spread our news faster than ever, talk about things on a larger scale than ever before and learn more about ourselves. That being said, just because technology is growing doesn’t mean that there isn’t still an issue with cybercrime or cyber scams. The problem seems to be getting worse – both in number and in how prevalent it is. It seems that every few weeks we hear about another company being hacked or another cyber attack taking place somewhere around the world. But what can you do? How can you ensure your information remains safe? And why should you even care? After all, these issues only affect companies and organizations, right?
These issues affect us all. From individuals who have their credit card numbers stolen to businesses that lose money due to online fraud, these crimes impact everyone. If anything, they should serve as a reminder of just how vulnerable we all are – even if we don’t realize it yet. One thing is certain: security will continue to become more important in today’s digital world and not enough companies have taken steps towards protecting themselves from cybercriminals. We’ll end by saying that while there’s certainly nothing wrong with using social media platforms, users need to take precautions when using them so that they don’t fall victim to one of these attacks. Because despite how much time we spend online and on various sites, most people aren’t aware of just how easy it is for criminals to access their personal information. It might seem like common sense, but remember: never give out personal details (such as your address or birth date) over email or via text message unless you know exactly where it came from!
Here is an PSA from 2020 it’s still relevant but deals with one part of social media scams not covered in this article: Celeberty Scammers.