Stay scam smart on your social media

September 8, 2023

Social media continues to transform the way people connect. A variety of social media platforms allow us to share information and ideas with each other openly. A downside however, is that scammers use these social channels to trick people into handing over their personal and financial details.

How to tell it’s an online scam

A social media scam is a fraudulent activity carried out on social networks like Facebook, Instagram, or X (formerly Twitter). Scammers create fake accounts pretending to be an organisation or someone they’re not in order to gain your trust.

There are warning signs to look out for on social media:

Be wary if:

  • Someone you don’t know wants to add you as a friend
  • You get asked to click on a link and enter your details
  • You’re made an offer that seems too good to be true
  • You’re asked to fill out a survey or enter a competition online
  • You’re offered items for sale at a much lower price than elsewhere
  • The logo and online identity of the profile looks fake
  • A suspicious post keeps popping up on your feed

Customer service scams

A recent trend on the social media platform X (Twitter) is the emergence of ‘blue tick scamming’. Changes introduced by the newly rebranded platform mean anyone who pays a monthly subscription can get a blue tick added to their account without having to prove who they are. Previously, this blue check mark indicated a verified company or account.

Scammers are taking advantage by posing as customer care agents online. Displaying this blue tick can fool people into believing they’re legitimate. They target customer complaints tagged online by contacting the person directly pretending to represent the organisation involved and phishing for personal information.

Golden Rules

There are ways you can discover a fake profile.

  1. Check to see when the account was set up – long established accounts are less likely to be scammers.
  2. How many followers does it have – a lower number suggests it may be fake.
  3. Does the logo or image used seem legitimate – scammers will use copycat versions.
  4. Are there any changes, even slight ones to the wording of the account tagged.
  5. Never click on any suspicious links sent your way.

Top Tip

Before interacting with a company’s account, check the website of the company for links to their social media accounts. This will help you ensure the account is genuine.

Caught out by a social media scam?

If you have responded to an approach or request on social media and given your bank account details, notify your bank or card issuer immediately. Your account can be placed on hold and card cancelled if necessary.

You should also report it locally to the Gardaí.

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