Social media give scammers another way of targeting victims

AP Photo
AP Photo

Social media and scams seem to go hand-in-hand as more and more people are recently falling victim to scammers, and it’s not just for financial gain.

Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have opened up new avenues of communication online. But it’s also given scammers another way of targeting victims.

Cybersecurity expert Chris Duque says he’s responded to a number of questions from social media users worried about the dangers of using Facebook. “Basically, what they’re asking more about how people were victimized by the scammers that are using Facebook, using fake profiles or basically impersonating legitimate users.”

He says most times, the impersonators will end up asking for money. But that’s not always the case.

“Instead of getting victimized financially, he was redirected to a website where there was malware and spyware on it, and all his personal information was stolen,” said Duque.

One of the things most troubling to Duque is what he calls “oversharing,” where, too often, social media users are posting too many details about themselves, like phone numbers, addresses, and other personal information that could be used against them.

“You wouldn’t stand on the street corner, walk at Ala Moana Shopping Center, and tell everybody my name is Chris Duque, I work for here, this is my phone number, this is my cell number because, one, you don’t know your audience.”

Duque says regardless of which social media site you use, you shouldn’t let your guard down. He also says if you suspect someone is impersonating a friend of yours, pick up the phone and call them directly to verify. And if someone is impersonating someone else, most social media sites have ways of reporting fraudulent accounts.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

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