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How to figure out that a scammer is messaging you via a social network account

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Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Unfortunately, among users of social networks, you can meet cybercriminals who seek to cash in on someone else's trust. We will tell you how to learn to detect such intentions and what security measures you should take to avoid cybercriminals' tricks.

An unfamiliar user is contacting you

If a person you don't know wrote to you first, look at their account. Fraudsters often use random images or photos found on the Internet. Their accounts are usually empty.

An unfamiliar user who has recently created a profile or who has few friends is likely to be a scammer. Negative reviews about the account also indicate its potential danger.

Check whether that account is on the Blacklist. Many sites and forums create databases of fraudsters, where links to their profiles, card numbers, wallets, access details, phones, mail, etc., are recorded.

Scammers are trying to get personal information from you

If you are asked for your phone number, address, or other personal information, be careful. This can be a sign of unscrupulous intentions. If someone insists or pressures you to disclose your data, withstand that pressure.

What attackers who’ve gained your personal data can do
  1. Take out a payday loan in your name via the Internet
  2. Send you a fake receipt for a fine payment
  3. Issue a SIM card for you and use it for phone scams
  4. Call you under the guise of a bank employee and find out your online banking password, the CVV code, the password from an SMS message or your PIN code in order to steal money from your card

Remember that real organisations or services will not request sensitive information via social media. If you are in doubt, it is better to contact the company or its official representative directly.

You are offered fast money

If you are offered quick and easy ways to earn money, be especially vigilant. Perhaps this is a deception scheme. Fraudsters who want to deceive you and steal your money or personal data are behind such promises.

Earning money online, just like earning money in real life, requires effort, time and an investment. If some proposal sounds too good to be true, it's best to keep yourself out of the conversation.

An unknown person wrote to a 60-year-old man and offered him the opportunity to earn additional money remotely via the Internet. Then the scammer asked the man to open a mobile banking application, started a video call with him, and convinced him to follow a number of instructions. As a result, all the man’s money was wiped out of his bank accounts — for a total amount of more than 10 thousand dollars.

Suspicious links and attachments are sent to you

If you are prompted to follow a link or open an attachment, never do it.

Cybercriminals most often disguise malicious files as documents, images, receipts, archives, and executable files. To force you to click on a dangerous link, it can be issued as a discount coupon or a concert ticket lottery.

No matter how tempting the offer is, do not open such links or attachments. This can lead to such disastrous consequences as installing malicious software on your device, allowing access to your account, and getting your personal data and funds stolen.

You receive a message notifying you that you’ve won a prize

When sending you a private message containing a notification that you’ve won a valuable prize (for example, an iPhone, a camera, a laptop, etc.), fraudsters can use the logos of well-known companies to create an impression of legitimacy. Then they will ask you to transfer a small amount of money (for example, 5 dollars) to a certain account – allegedly to pay for delivery. This is most likely an attempt to defraud you.

Real organisers of contests and promo events do not require participants to pay for delivery. If you really did win an iPhone, a camera, or a laptop, they would bear the cost of shipping it to the address you specify.

"Your friend" is asking to borrow money from you

If you notice something unusual about your friend's social media posts—for example, an unusual greeting followed by a request to borrow money—their account may have been hacked.

To verify this, contact your friend not via the social network, but by phone or in another way that you usually use.

The Anti-virus Times recommends

If you are affected by the actions of scammers on a social network, immediately report this to the technical support service. In addition, you must file a report with the police or the prosecutor's office. The procedure:

  • Collect all the information about the scammers – their ID, details, the link to the group, etc.
  • Prepare screenshots of your correspondence and documents confirming the transfer of funds.
  • Submit a statement to the police or the prosecutor's office, and attach to it the collected evidence.

Tell your family and friends how to recognise scammers on social networks. Send them the link to this article to help them protect themselves from potential risks.

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