New research has found that nearly half (47%) of social media users have fallen victim to some sort of social media shopping scam, and they didn’t fare much better against other common scams.
Report from VPN Atlas (opens in a new tab)discussing a digital marketing company GoodCompanies (opens in a new tab)This is shown in a survey of 560 social media users phishing links (36.7% admitted to falling in love with one), gift card scams (also 36.7%), “help” scams (33.3%) and fake job offers (30%) are among the the most effective scams, and there are many more on the list.
As Atlas explains, scam techniques can change (for example, a phishing link is a largely automated process, while a romance scam involves direct contact with the entity responsible for the threat), but the motives remain the same: stealing money, which can also mean data.
Internet fraud prevention
The world is rushing online to take advantage of the best Black Friday offers (like ours on standing desks), the scourge of fraud is unlikely to subside anytime soon. The only answer seems to be to educate angry shoppers to become savvy.
In its report, Atlas VPN provided top tips for staying safe online. Among them, the question of whether the deal is too good to be true. This will always be a surefire tip for those worried about being scammed online. Technology evolves, but critical thinking skills are an important constant.
As part of this, it is recommended that you look carefully at the website link or profile to verify its legitimacy, paying attention that the social media or company website should look professional and have perfect spelling and grammar.
True, but it’s worth adding that it’s always wise to check the actual web address if you have any doubts about where it leads before you click on it. Atlas VPN suggests buying from well-known brands, but you may have received a link to a site impersonating that brand, with a very subtle typo in the web address.
This also applies to mobile shopping apps. Fraudulent apps may pay you to rank higher for a certain keyword than the legitimate app you are likely looking for. Take a moment to compare what you’re looking at with what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to scroll.
Atlas VPN obviously recommends using a VPN service if you’re using public Wi-Fi to shop, although we’d recommend just waiting until you get home if possible.
This can be a nuisance, but if you manage to fall victim to a scam, you reduce the risk to your data much more than that creating a password, er, “password”.