Social networking sites like Facebook have made the world smaller and a lot easier. You can catch up with friends, meet new people, get the latest information, learn the new trend, play games and promote your business—all in one convenient site. But with all the fun and convenience also comes risk and danger. One of the major disadvantages of social networking sites or the internet in general, is you never really know if what you see on your monitor is real. How would you know if the girl you’ve been Facebook-stalking for weeks is not actually a 40 year old man? How would you know if your newest online business partner is not actually a fraud out to steal your money? With very little means of verification, how is anyone really sure of all the information we get online?
Anyone can pretend. Anyone can deceive and fool you into doing something that you’d soon regret. Being cautious and having an eye out for suspicious activity can save you the trouble. Here are some of the internet scams on social networks that you need to watch out for:
1. Credit Card Scams
This type of scam is not only rampant in social networks, but also all around the web. If you want to purchase something and pay online, be careful before entering your credit card information on any site. Some scammers create a website that is nearly identical to the web design and layout of the site you are buying from, to trick you into entering your card information, thinking that you are still on the right site. Once you enter your card information on these fake sites, you basically gave the scammer freedom to live off of you. Always double check the web address you are in before entering any card or bank information. Check if it still has the same spelling or the same web address. And never ever make an online payment transaction if the page isn’t secured and/or doesn’t start with “https” when you land on the supposed secured page.
2. Online Dating Scams
Another common scam involves pulling your heartstrings. Some scammers create a fake profile, uses some else’s picture and information and will randomly add you up online. Some use their real photos and information, but have an ulterior motive for wanting to be “friends” with you. They’d soon strike up a conversation with you; flirt a bit, till it leads to something else—at least that’s what you thought was happening.
Once these people have you comfortable enough with them, they’d soon create some imaginary excuses and scenarios to meet with them, just for you to bring out some cash. Most of these run along the lines of “I have an emergency, but am short in cash. I’m ashamed to ask from you, but I have no one else to turn to.” But before you even meet them in person and give these people your hard-earned cash, be sure that they’re the real deal.
Don’t misunderstand. Lots of people meet and fall in love through the internet. It has become a very popular dating option since it’s a lot more convenient and easier than having an awkward conversation at some random party.
Just remember, no matter how convenient and promising online dating may be, safety must still be included in the equation. There’s nothing wrong with trying to get to know the person better and nothing wrong with taking your relationship to a whole new level. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with helping someone in need, especially if that someone is your potential partner. Just make sure that the person on the other end is really the person that he/she claims to be.
3. Poser Accounts
Keep an eye out for poser accounts. This scam fooled even the most careful social network users. To carry this out, scammers would simply make a duplicate profile of a person. They would post that person’s real photo, enter his actual information and add his friends from the original account. Then the scammer would post something along the lines of “I can’t access my old account, please contact me through this new account instead.” Since it contains all the correct information about you, this would fool people into actually thinking that you switched accounts. There’s no knowing what these scammers could ask of the people on your friend list once they had communication with them.
In order to avoid this from happening, do not post vital information about yourself that others can easily copy. Don’t put your entire life online. Scammers can easily copy your online activity. There’s also no harm in posting a safety message to your Facebook friends once in a while, saying that your present profile is your sole account—and that they should ignore a friend request from your “other account” should it ever turn up in the future. The same goes to a friend’s account. Always verify, either you could chat up the old account or send them a text or e-mail. It’s easier to ask, “Hey, did you make another account?” than being duped by scammers in the future.
See related article: Avoid Online Dating ScammsPublisher: pauline c. tome