Social Media Scams Threatening Your Internet Security
Written by a NortonLifeLock employee
Constant connectivity to the Internet has improved our lives by leaps and bounds. From booking dinner reservations and buying movie tickets to keeping in touch with long-distance friends and finding the perfect gifts, the web offers a wealth of information. But along with the perks, numerous threats lurk online that could threaten your internet security.
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Security is no longer a one-machine affair. You need a security suite that helps protect all your devices – your Windows PC, Mac, Android smartphone or your iPad.
The Internet can be a dark place where virtual thieves can steal your money, your password, and even your identity. In a surprising reveal by the ACCC (Australian Competition & Consumer Commission), the demographics of those most in danger were the Australian millennials. It turns out, social media platforms give scammers the ultimate access to their target group.
With Easter season nearly upon us, shopping for an Easter gift may be high on your list.With Easter deals galore, it’s easy to get sucked into a scam, especially if you think you’re leaving with a deal, not future debt!
Here’s what to look out for to avoid falling into their trap:
When it comes to internet security, it’s extremely important to be aware of the characteristics of e-commerce fraud so that you can protect yourself, and your finances. The most common types of e-commerce themes include credit card fraud, identity theft, chargebacks, and bogus returns. These affect both consumers and merchants. Some of the warning signs of possible fraud include late-night orders, drop box addresses, items placed for sale outside of the country, express shipping, free/anonymous email services, high dollar orders, and cases in which the “ship to” address differs from the billing one. Facebook and Instagram actively target gullible individuals through their marketplaces or fake online stores. However, modern platforms like Snapchat and TikTok are now increasingly using similar tactics.
Ways that consumers can protect themselves from e-commerce fraud include:
- Shopping at secure websites
- Doing research on the website before they place the order
- Reading the site’s policies on privacy and security
- Being mindful of cookies
Merchants can reduce fraud by:
- Verifying a cardholder’s info
- Using transaction controls
- Maintaining an internal negative file
- Implementing a transaction data field
Online Auction Frauds
While many folks have excellent experiences with online auctions, others encounter fraud in this area, receiving damaged or misrepresented goods and suffering compromised bank accounts.
Before you make a bid, do your homework about the auction site, the product, and the seller. Carefully read the terms and service agreement and review feedback left by other buyers about the seller and his or her items. You should also review the fine print and ensure that the seller has a return policy.
Most auctioneers accept PayPal, credit cards, or cashiers’ checks. However, the safest method to pay for an item online is through a third-party payment company.
Another thing to look out for is if the seller tells you the item is located in one place, and then requests that you send payment to an entirely different location. This often indicates a huge red flag.
In Australia, fake tickets are often resold to unsuspecting teenagers using this method. Do your research and only buy from credible vendors. There are several authorized ticket vendors as well as ticket resellers that use legitimate third-party payment companies as well as verification applications to crosscheck resale tickets.
An additional scam making the rounds on the Internet involves fake websites. These sites resemble legitimate e-commerce websites, with credible-looking logos, pictures, and payment options. Here are some tips for ensuring a site is honest:
- Ensure the URL code is legit
- If you see low prices, or discounts above 55 percent, it might be too good to be true
- Review the copyright date and domain creation date
- Do not make purchases on young websites
There are many scammers on the Internet, but consumers and merchants alike can avoid becoming e-commerce fraud victims if they pay attention and are aware. If you are ever the victim of an online scam, it is important to file a police report immediately.
Do not open links from strangers or untrusted sources. Receiving texts or messages on social media platforms about offers that sound too good to be true are indeed often, too good to be true. Remember, a “good” deal isn’t worth risking your internet security. Only trust those you know, and even then, if it looks like a suspicious text, double-check with them in person prior to clicking on a dubious link.
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1 Millennials most gullible when it comes to a scam, Channel News, March 2020, https://www.channelnews.com.au/millennials-most-gullible-when-it-comes-to-a-scam/
2 Tixel, About https://tixel.com/about
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