Human beings are made to be social beings, with this in mind, popular social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook have taken advantage of this great success stories. According to reports by the chief organizing officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, the sites attract over one hundred and seventy-five million logins per day.
For those online subscribers, one needs to learn some key drawbacks arising from the world of social media. Cyber criminals and virus writers tend to take advantage of the huge numbers of people or customers. Therefore, the best location of finding such social media sites is by exploring websites and other online platforms. Here, we will try to look at the top five scams associated with the use of social media.
1. They are promising a free trial offer with the promise of forever payments
This may sound as quite an enticing measure, but let us look at some key issues and facts behind the matter. First, it is important to discover how the process works.
How Does It Work?
Here, customers are offered internet trial for free for a period lasting one month, on a certain commodity or product. Such may include intriguing weight-loss programs or even a teeth whitening site for maintaining the diva look. The site only requires a ‘small’ payment amounting to five dollars and ninety-five cents plus what they like to call, handling. However, this is hardly meant to benefit the customer, in fact, it’s like a dear putting itself within the path of a lion. Trust me; ‘the lion’ is bound to pounce. Which brings us to the next hidden issue of the free trial offers? What is really going on?
What they don’t want you to know is that, hidden somewhere in the fine blueprint, that they cover up in all types of colours, are some important terms. In the end the customer is forced to use eighty to ninety-nine dollars in monthly payment fees.
Christine Durst, a renowned expert dealing with matters concerning internet fraud adds that people operating such internet services tend to be very shrewd individuals. These individuals know that as human beings, we can be desperate beings of nature. Taking this chance, they are able to carefully put issues which they clearly know, will go unread. I really don’t know whether we should call them cyber criminals or internet sociopaths.
As if that’s not enough, what such companies do is to indicate the numbers but eliminate the use of dollar signs; anything dealing with currency or specific time frames end up getting washed into texts. Maybe at this point, it is important to admit that the internet has got some weird monsters.
How to Avoid Such Tactics
Here, it is necessary to go through the fingerprint on various offers, and put little belief on testimonial services. For those internet lovers and disciples who have previously suffered in the hands of cyber hooligans, the great helper comes in form of Tineye.com which is an online search engine that goes through the website looking for identical photos. Having this in mind, if that sales agent appears, dressed in their elegant looking ‘robes’ with the intention of promoting a wide variety of products, you can stand up for yourself and say, “hey, look, what in this world has ever been free?”. Furthermore, companies which enjoy a huge reputation from online subscribers or customers give individuals the permission to cancel their ‘contracts’ and quickly negotiate a suitable refund. However, if this proves to be a challenge, it’s crucial to first contact the credit card institution.
2. That Hot Spot Impersonator
The next scam involved in the use of online services is through wireless internet or Wi-Fi. Here’s how it works.
How it works
One may be traveling across different states or countries and decides to access the internet either on an airplane or the airport coffee store. The services in most cases are free, or otherwise, resemble a payment service such as Boingo Wireless. Enticing, right? Now let us look at why you should keep your electronic device in your bag while in public places, free from the temptation of accessing a Wi-Fi hotspot.
What’s really going on?
Although the web service may appear legitimate or legal, the truth, however, is sure to shock any online subscriber. In a real sense, the wireless service may be nearby operated or run by a high school under-performer or a homeless guy whose only possession is a low-tech computer device. If the site describes itself as a free service, run, take to your heels and don’t look back. Researchers note that this may be just attractive advantages meant to extract important information such as credit card and different password information.
It’s true that fake wireless hot spots are quickly emerging from across all corners, and in many instances, it’s quite challenging to differentiate them from the real Wi-Fi services. Leading experts in the field of antivirus software add that criminals remove copies of legitimate website pages of Wi-Fi providers such as AT&T or Verizon and change it with the intention of sending one’s personal information to their computers or electronic devices. Brian Yoder, the vice president of engineering at a leading antivirus software entity called Cyber Defender adds that such a process is quite lucrative and simple for criminals to undertake, hence the growing cyber and online scams.
As an internet subscriber, refrain from accessing suspicious networks. It would be therefore prudent to do away with non-preferred networks, especially when using personal computers. While traveling, purchase a twenty dollar Visa or MasterCard subscription. The main reason behind this is to avoid broadcasting personal information such as credit or debit card data. Also, one may also opt to establish an advanced account consisting of providers at certain airports. An example of such accounts includes one such as Travelpost.com.
Avoid conducting banking transactions or internet shopping by use of public, wireless hot spots unless one is certain of the security of the network. The main purpose behind this is to remove any chances of cyber criminals extracting important personal information, leading to fraud and loss of crucial assets.
3. Then there’s that inappropriate tweet
Another dubious method used by cyber criminals to fool innocent internet users is through the use of tweets. The process is quite interesting. Let us look at what it entails.
How does it work?
Research finds that one may get a message from one of his or her many followers from Twitter. The information relayed involves contests for free products such as iPads, and other extensive payments or costs. It, therefore, requires online customers to click on a given link so as to learn more. It is shocking to note that most people are blind to this technique and they hastily access the site paying no regard to the outcomes that may follow. Interestingly, leading professionals in information technology have discovered what really goes on in such cases.
So what’s really going on?
Once one has clicked on the link, what follows is quite shocking. Accessing the internet website will lead to the downloading of a software robot or what many specialists would call a ‘bot’. Later on, it goes ahead to add a ‘zombie’ botnet that in most situations cause increased spam e-mail. With this in mind, it is essential to carefully scrutinize web-links before clicking on them.
Cyber criminals are taking advantage of the URL-shortening provisions that permit users of Twitter and other social media sites to share or send links that are longer than the prescribed one hundred and forty maximum character requirement needed in a tweet. Such legitimate services end up simplifying a large URL to only ten or fifteen characters. However, when users fail to see the intended URL, this makes it easy for criminals or crude individuals to add malicious links.
The Ultimate Solution
Leading professionals in the social media field recommend visiting a user's profile before clicking on any Twitter link. For users who are unfamiliar, the measure is quite crucial and needs careful adherence.
Josh George, a website businessman located in Vancouver, Washington and a leading follower of internet frauds or scams also notes one important factor. He says that if one follows over hundreds of thousands of Twitter users, and similarly, no one follows him or her, such an individual is a ‘bot’ and is only looking to take advantage of unknowing subscribers. It, therefore, shows that before visiting or clicking on any link, takes the time, and discover the person on the other side and his or her true intentions. For students who rely heavily on the use of social media sites such as Twitter, doing so will assist them in avoiding loss of information through spam emails.
4. We can fix your computer with a simple antivirus
Personal computers pick up a variety of viruses such as Trojan horses and different other malware or spyware. It is through this that fraudulent individuals have emerged looking to prey on the desperation of such individuals.
How does it work?
A pop-up window emerges which shows a legal antivirus software program, for example, Antivirus XP 2010 or SecurityTool, which goes on to alert the owner of the computer that the machine is infected with a dangerous virus. And then there’s that “OH MY GOD” feeling that hits you. You quickly buy the antivirus, in the thought that the internet is a true savior. Wrong! The internet preys on the weak and strong alike.
So what’s really going on?
When one clicks on the link, the fraudulent company installs malware or malicious software in the machine. With no surprise, expect no cleanup. Eventually, what such cyber criminals do is, they get hold of one’s credit card information leading to bankruptcy and debt, and eventually the personal computer is damaged beyond repair. The said errors are usually not genuine problems with your personal computer but just ways to infect your computer with viruses or malware.
According to Dave Marcus, director of security and research for McAffee Labs, and an antivirus producer, such malware is the most expensive internet malpractice, especially in the year 2010. During this year, I faced such a challenge, for lack of a more embarrassing description. So, my laptop which I freshly purchased from by college savings supposedly got infected. I was shocked, and couldn’t eat until I found a solution. And there it was the answer to my troubles. On the site, it provided a free antivirus. Quickly, I downloaded it and let it run through all the content. Then, everything went black.
Of course, I tried rebooting it, not accepting its fate, call it a fool's way of not giving up. In the end, I had to accept that, that was the end of my ACCER V5 model mini lap top.
The Ultimate Solution
It is recommended that once one comes across a pop-up window advising him or her to conduct a systems scan, one should first close the window without visiting the indicated links. The next step is to conduct a thorough systems scan using updated and legitimate antivirus software such as the AVG free editions or even ThreatFire Antivirus. For users of Microsoft, updating the inbuilt windows defender is also another method of getting rid of dangerous viruses such as Trojan horses.
5. Did I find true love online?
Love is a ‘commodity’ that many people search for in their day to day lifestyles. Over the years, use of online dating sites has turned out to be quite a popular method because of its ability to bring together people of different regions, states, and countries.
How does it work?
Here, one may be a student looking for love after completing school. He or she may opt for the use of Facebook, dating sites, or chat rooms. Some even go to the extent of using virtual gaming sites. Contacts, pictures, and other personal information are exchanged through the process and it soon appears as though such persons are meant to be together. Some go on to say that our love was written in the stars. However, there is a problem; one party ends up being in a foreign country and seemingly, needs cash or other resources so as to escape from a cruel father, get medical care, or to purchase a plane ticket so that you can finally see each other.
So what’s really going on?
The person who may appear to be the love of your life, in a real sense he or she is a crook, looking to take advantage of a person’s desperation. Therefore, for such victims, expect no tearful hugs on the meeting day and also, no fairytale endings to the story. The fact is that such kind of a love is exhausting to the wallet of the naïve party.
Connecting through social media platforms especially in the case of students has lead to the increased avenues for inhuman crooks to specialize in attracting lonely individuals into fake relationships and friendships, only to illegally acquire their money and other important assets.
Cindy Dawson, a thirty-nine-year-old customer service worker, fell in love with a Nigerian named Simon Peters once meeting him on an online dating site. Of course, they went ahead to exchange photos, and other personal information. Shockingly, Dawson took the step further of even sending pictures of his kids, who they constantly talked about through the phone. She was clearly a woman on a mission; did it go well for her?
Well soon afterward Peters started requesting for cash, first in small amounts, and then in large ones. The money he said was meant to buy food stuff and he required it through Western Union money transfer, under the name Adewale Mazu. Peters always claimed that he could not use his name because of what he called poor documentation. Finally, Dawson sent money meant for buying airplane tickets but once arriving at the airport he never turned up.
Painfully Dawson adds that he continued lying saying that authorities in Lagos did not permit him to board the plane. Furthermore, Dawson’s friends kept telling her that she was getting duped but she never thought, the ‘love of her life’ would do that to her. Finally, someone gave her a slap on the cheek and she decided to break all contact with Peters. However, the damage had already been done and he ended up getting close to fifteen thousand from her, something which made Dawson feel angry and stupid at the same time.
The Ultimate Solution
Experts advise that on the internet, it’s almost impossible to be too paranoid. It is, however, important to always be smart. In a real sense, social media websites can be a great method of interacting with a wide range of individuals both from within the country or internationally. Therefore, when an individual you know only from the internet requests cash transfers, sign off and break off all contacts with him or her quickly. Who said money in love went hand in hand? Certainly not the god of love, and money sadly, is the ‘Godzilla’ that mankind created
For students using the internet to pursue their education and for the better fulfillment of their self-growth, use of the internet is arguably the best forum to achieve such success. However, fraudulent individuals are constantly looking to kill the dreams of scholars as well as other internet subscribers.
The above methods show the different tactics used by cyber criminals and also, how to counter such crude methods. Always remember not to trust too much as people may eventually take advantage of one’s naivety if such opportunity proves to be advantageous to them. In a nutshell, avoid making hasty decisions such as clicking on suspicious hyperlinks and making payments without going through the finer details.
Kevin Nelson started his career as a research analyst and has changed his sphere of activity to writing services and content marketing. Apart from writing, he spends a lot of time reading psychology and management literature searching for the keystones of motivation ideas.