How to spot a social media scam

From Facebook account hackers to fake stores and romance tricksters, your online presence makes you vulnerable to predators. Their tactics are always evolving, so tread carefully when communicating online. Keep an eye out for these signs of social media scams:

• A message saying something like “Is that you in this video?” followed by a link. Even if the message seems to come from a friend, don’t click the link.

• Social media quizzes requesting personal information. Birthdays, pet names, song titles or details about your youth could reveal information that hackers can use to guess your passwords or bypass other security safeguards.

• A friend request from someone you’ve already connected with. Likewise, be wary of any request from a social media account with minimal activity and few contacts.

• Message exchanges in which the person asks to shift to another method of communication, such as telephone or text.

• Requests to send or receive money. Be especially suspicious of offers of money in exchange for help, even if they seem to come from someone you know.

• Unrealistically cheap deals. Don’t trust online retail websites that don’t provide a physical address and information on shipping costs and timelines.

In many cases, avoiding online scammers is a matter of resisting the urge to click and, instead, using a little discernment. A local IT specialist can help optimize the security of your devices and online accounts.

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