Social media is a fantastic tool for connecting with friends, staying up to date with the news and taking a few minutes to relax. Social networks are so popular that more than 96% of Australians use at least one social platform regularly, with 80% admitting to browsing social media while at work.
While older research suggested that social media was a major time sink for employers, newer studies show that allowing social media use in the workplace can actually boost morale. Allowing employees to take short breaks to use social media increases employee engagement, strengthens workplace relationships and can even enhance your brand. But, social media use can also open your business up to a range of online dangers. In this article we’ll cover the top 5 scams to avoid on social media to protect yourself and your workplace from harm.
1. Malicious Links
It always pays to be wary of unknown links on the internet, especially when they show up on social media websites. Clicking on the wrong link could take you to a website that downloads malware or ransomware to your computer, or it could take you to a fake business website to trick you into sharing real login details. If you don’t click on the link then your computer and information aren’t at risk.
Some malicious links can even be shared by people you trust. Certain kinds of viruses automatically distribute links through social media posts and direct messages. Be wary of unusual messages and posts – even from your friends – and don’t click links you don’t trust.
2. Shopping Scams
Tools like Facebook Marketplace are a convenient way to clear out some old clutter or score a bargain, but they’re also a target of scammers. Shopping scams can be hard to spot at first. The scammer will post a seemingly trustworthy for sale ad, but the price of the item might seem too good to be true. When you express your interest in their ad, they will request payment before allowing you to inspect the item they’re selling. This scam is common for high value items like second hand cars. Never send money or your banking details to people you don’t know, and make sure you generate a signed receipt for any deposits or transactions.
3. Fake Friend Requests
Have you ever had a friend request from someone whose name you didn’t recognise, and it turned out to be an old friend from years ago? Reconnecting with old friends can be a lot of fun, but be wary of accepting requests from people you don’t recognise. Once you’ve added these scammers, they’ll have access to any information you have posted, and they’ll often try to engage with you and coax you into sharing your data, sending them money or clicking on malicious links.
4. Personality Quizzes and Games
A quick personality quiz to find out your love language or which fictional character you are can seem harmless. But these quizzes can be fronts for scammers. Personality quizzes often ask questions to extract the sorts of information that people use to generate their passwords. Following a link to a quiz and then giving away answers to personality questions can be all a scammer needs to guess your password and break into social media accounts to steal private information.
5. Data Breaches
While data breaches aren’t a scam, they are a common form of attack that can lead to your personal and financial information being leaked. Social media platforms are big businesses with robust hacking protections, but this doesn’t make them immune to data breaches. For instance, Facebook was the target of a hack in 2021 that saw more than 500 million users’ phone numbers and personal details leaked.
There is nothing you or your employer can do to avoid data breaches on major platforms. However, following the old advice of keeping your personal information off social media is the best defence. Never post or share your personal details or financial information – such as credit card numbers and bank login details – with anyone on social media. If you’re making an online purchase, ensure you trust the site before entering your credit card details, or consider using a service such as Paypal to protect your information.
Need to Protect Your Network From Social Media Scams? Contact Surety IT Today!
Allowing your employees to spend a few minutes each day on social media is a great way to boost morale and improve relationships in the workplace. But it pays to be sure your employees know the ins and outs of social media scams and how to keep sensitive company information safe. Speak to the friendly team at Surety IT today and we’ll help make sure your business has an effective cyber security strategy in place. Contact us for more information or if you’d like to book a consultation!