Social media scams can quickly spread across social platforms like Twitter and Facebook.
Understand how they work and take steps to protect yourself with our six top tips.
1. Is the deal too good to be true?
Scammers will often pretend to be from legitimate and trustworthy sources, offering an enticing incentive to click through to a ‘too good to be true’ deal.
So, the first thing you should do is try doing a quick search for the promotion. If the company, organisation or brand is promoting a deal on social media, they are likely to also be promoting it on their homepage.
2. Inspect the URL
Closely inspect any URLs you aren’t sure about. Does the URL look suspicious? Does it match the URL of the company website?
Sometimes enticing posts on social media link to a fake login page, and when you enter your email and password, you’re actually giving those details to a scammer.
Always check that the URL matches the social media website you’re using if you’re redirected to a login page after clicking a link in a post.
3. Check your timeline
Are you seeing an unusually high volume of the same status being shared? This should ring alarm bells that it may be a scam, especially if the post message is the same for more than a few people.
4. Check the branding
Check the post for branding inconsistencies. Are they using the right logo? Is this the standard of design and care for presentation you usually see from the brand?
If it’s a new brand entirely, go to its profile page and have a proper look at how it’s presenting themselves. Do they look professional or does it look like a quick and sloppy job?
5. Send a message
Send a private message to your friend or family member asking them if they posted the status. They may not have realised the status was going to be automatically published and they may now realise the link they followed was part of scam.
But, be careful – they may still think it was genuine. Trust your instincts and remain suspicious, if you’re not convinced. It’s better to miss out on one deal than give away your person details for scammers to sell on the black market.
6. Contact the company
You could reach out to the organisation, company or brand to find out if the deal is genuine. Don’t do this by clicking on any links in the post you believe could be a scam.
Instead, search for the company’s real homepage and contact them via a social media account, email address or telephone number you find on there.