Cybersecurity: Social media scams

Protect yourself from social media scams

The rapid growth in popularity of social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, has created more opportunities for cyber criminals, who use messaging functions to identify and contact possible victims. One of their most popular tactics on social media is called Angler Phishing.

Here’s how it works:

  • Criminals identify active social media users and track public conversations or messages, looking for requests for technical help.
  • They send messages to these active users pretending to be the help desk for a legitimate business or organization, offering technical assistance or advice.
  • The criminals lead their targets to a phony social media account or page, where they are asked to give out personal information or even transfer money.

What you should do:

  • Be very careful when contacting companies on social media. Confirm the username you are messaging is legitimate and, when possible, use the direct message feature so that your correspondence is private.
  • Be careful what you share on social media sites. Information such as your work or business email, home address or personal details can be used by criminals to target you for fraud.
  • Be wary of “instant friends” on social media. On many social media sites, once you agree to “friend” someone, you are sharing all your information with them.
  • Check your privacy settings on each social media site to review that you are only sharing information that you are comfortable sharing in public.