New research claims that nearly half (47%) of social media users have fallen victim to some type of social media shopping scam, and they fare not much better than other common scams.
report from AtlasVPN (Opens in a new tab)Discussion of a digital marketing company GoodFirms Inc (Opens in a new tab)A survey of 560 social media users, shows this phishing Links (36.7% admitting to falling for one), gift card scams (also 36.7%) “help” scams (33.3%) and fake job listings (30%) are among the most effective scams, with many more to list besides.
As Atlas points out, techniques may change between scams (link phishing is a largely automated process while a romance scam involves direct contact with a threat actor, for example) but the motives remain the same: to steal money, which could also mean data.
Prevent online scams
With the online world rushing to take advantage of the best Black Friday deals (such as our deals on standing desk), the scourge of scams is unlikely to subside anytime soon. The only answer seems to be to educate rabid shoppers to become savvy.
With its report, Atlas VPN gave its top tips for staying safe on the Internet. Among them, wondering if the deal was too good to be true. This will always be a reliable piece of advice for those worried about being scammed online. Technology is evolving, but critical thinking skills are a constant vital component.
As part of this, he recommends looking closely at a website or profile link to verify its authenticity, noting that a company’s social media or web page should look professional and have perfect spelling and grammar.
This is true, but it is worth adding that it is always wise to examine the actual web address, if you have any doubts about where it leads to, before clicking on it. Atlas VPN suggests shopping at well-known brands, but you may have received a link to a site pretending to be that brand, with a very subtle typo in the web address.
This is also the case for mobile shopping apps. Scam apps may pay for a higher placement in the lists for a particular keyword than the legitimate app you might be searching for. Take a moment to compare what you’re looking at with what you’re looking at, and don’t be afraid to scroll.
Atlas VPN recommends, of course, that you use a VPN Service if using public WiFi to shop, though we recommend just waiting until you get home, where possible.
This can be stressful, but if you manage to fall victim to a scam, you will mitigate the risks to your data more than Create your own password, i.e. “Password”.