Sophisticated social media scams are becoming a real concern. Not only do they pose an obvious risk to users of social networks, such as Facebook, but they’re alarmingly effective.
How do we know they’re effective? Because if they hadn’t worked, we wouldn’t be seeing them.
It’s easy to be sucked in when you see friends and family purporting these scams, but the people you trust the most are obliviously doing the fraudsters’ bidding.
How is this happening?
Dodgy social media posts spread like a virus – the scammers will often give you an incentive to click through, usually promising something for nothing, such as in the two examples we spotted (below).
The posts have been cunningly designed to appear genuine, using official brand logos and, in the case of the Morrisons example, even going into T&Cs – right down to what the cashier should do with the ‘coupon’.
But it’s the way the scam reaches you that’s the clever part. Both these posts reached Which? staff members’ Facebook feeds by being shared by family members.
The wording ‘thanks for my gift coupon’ even makes it appear that the person you know was successful in using it, but this has been placed there by the fraudsters. The scam has practically arrived with an endorsement from someone you know well, making it all the more convincing.
Unbeknownst to the victim, clicking on these links sends your personal information to third parties, while also triggering the ‘share’ with all your friends, and on it travels.
A problem shared
Shares and likes are the currency when it comes to Facebook scams. Hoax-Slayer spotted this page (below).
The post from scammers posing as ‘British Airway’ has been designed to amass as many likes as possible, in order for it to be used for other scam campaigns (or even sold on a black market to other scammers!).
Update: 10 November 2016
Be warned! These promotions and competition scams are continuing to ‘do the rounds’ on social media. Today we’ve been made aware of an ‘Emirates’ promotion being circulated on WhatsApp, the smartphone messaging app.
This promotional message is sent straight to victims’ phones via the app. The message calls on recipients to click the link in order to claim two free tickets for an Emirates flight, made to look like the real deal with the airline’s website ’emirates.com’ at the top of the message and an image of the apparent two tickets up for grabs.
If you click the link to ‘claim’ your tickets you’re then taken to survey for you to complete in order to proceed.
We’ve alerted Emirates to this scam promotion. We’re worried that these scams just aren’t going away and even more concerning they’re looking more convincing too.
Remember to always keep a close eye on what you’re clicking on when you’re browsing your social media timelines – even if it arrives by what you think is a legitimate source.
We’d advise closely inspecting any URLs you aren’t sure about, quickly Googling the ‘promotion’, or simply asking your friend or family member if they meant to share the post. It may be an old cliché, but if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Have you spotted any dodgy social media posts? Do you think social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, should do more to get rid of them from their platforms?