Top 4 Ways Scammers Use Social Media to Rob You Blind

Don't Become the Next Victim

By early 2014, one in four people around the world will use social media. The figure is much higher in America, where 56 percent have at least one social media profile. When considering adult internet users in the United States, the number jumps to 72 percent.

Many of these users hope to connect with loved ones and beat the next Candy Crush level, but a significant number are scammers ready and waiting to rob you blind. Here are four major ways they'll try to do so.

1. Scammers Aren't Always Who They Seem

The average Facebook user doesn't actually know one in five of their Facebook friends. How many of your Facebook friends do you know and trust? If you're like the 54 percent accepting friend requests just to be polite, or the third of users simply hoping to seem more popular, your actions could be costly.

Scammers often create fake profiles to gain the trust of their victims. Facebook chat makes it easy to establish a connection with their target and even lure them into a face-to-face meeting. Once you step away from the computer, you're vulnerable to the theft of your money and possessions.

But don't think you're safe just because you're not meeting or chatting with social network friends. Lurking scammers can be just as dangerous. Think of everything you've shared on your profile page and news feed. They know your age, gender, occupation, email addresses, and interests. They have a range of photos of you too. This is more than enough to steal your identity. The problem is so widespread, you may want to consider investing in the best identity theft protection you can afford to keep your details safe.

2. Scammers Monitor Your Whereabouts

Image via Flickr by Dennis Skley

Eighty percent of social networkers are smart enough to make their accounts private, but that also means one in five broadcast their information to the world. As we can see though, having a private profile doesn't always mean your details are in the vault - this is partially because scammers posing as friends can monitor your activity.

So what do they see? They know when you're on vacation and when you're catching up with friends at a bar. Almost 80 percent of reformed thieves say other cyber-criminals are using this information to keep tabs on householders.

How do they know where to find your home? Perhaps you posted your address on your profile page or linked to the online ad when you purchased your home. And didn't you just post photos of your kids having fun in your front yard?

Social network users leave these kinds of clues all the time, so it's pretty easy for scammers to piece the puzzle together.

3. Scammers Hijack Accounts

Don't think that it won't happen to you; every day Facebook is notified of 600,000 hijacked log-ins. Once they've hijacked your account, the scammers are likely to add malware to your system.

"Hackers get malware on your machine and get tens if not hundreds of thousands of these machines under their control and then they rent them out to spammers and others," explained Dr. Kent Seamons, a computer science professor from Brigham Young University.

The best case scenario would see your account used to advertise products you don't endorse. The worst set of circumstances could see the scammers accessing your bank accounts and requesting money from your unsuspecting friends who believe you're in need.

4. Scammers Spread Malware

Scammers don't need to hijack your account to put malware on your system, though. You just need to click on the wrong link. Malware might be found in that new social game everyone's playing or in the quick quiz your friends have begged you to take.

One in five Facebook users have been exposed to this insidious software. Once it's on your system, it can monitor your activity and steal your personal details, including your financial records.

Make sure you always run a good antivirus program, which detects spyware and malware as well as viruses. Scammers are always looking for new ways to trick you, so make sure you update your software regularly.

There more to social media than simply being social. Enjoy its perks but have your wits about you to ensure you don't fall victim to a social networking scam.

More Stories By Calvin Sellers

Calvin Sellers is a mobile technology and social media writer from Tampa, FL. He has worked to create captivating content for clients in many niches. Follow him on Twitter @CalvintheScribe.

Latest Stories
"ZeroStack is a startup in Silicon Valley. We're solving a very interesting problem around bringing public cloud convenience with private cloud control for enterprises and mid-size companies," explained Kamesh Pemmaraju, VP of Product Management at ZeroStack, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Enterprises are moving to the cloud faster than most of us in security expected. CIOs are going from 0 to 100 in cloud adoption and leaving security teams in the dust. Once cloud is part of an enterprise stack, it’s unclear who has responsibility for the protection of applications, services, and data. When cloud breaches occur, whether active compromise or a publicly accessible database, the blame must fall on both service providers and users. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben Johnson, C...
"Infoblox does DNS, DHCP and IP address management for not only enterprise networks but cloud networks as well. Customers are looking for a single platform that can extend not only in their private enterprise environment but private cloud, public cloud, tracking all the IP space and everything that is going on in that environment," explained Steve Salo, Principal Systems Engineer at Infoblox, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventio...
Data scientists must access high-performance computing resources across a wide-area network. To achieve cloud-based HPC visualization, researchers must transfer datasets and visualization results efficiently. HPC clusters now compute GPU-accelerated visualization in the cloud cluster. To efficiently display results remotely, a high-performance, low-latency protocol transfers the display from the cluster to a remote desktop. Further, tools to easily mount remote datasets and efficiently transfer...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...