New research has found that nearly half (47%) of social media users have been victims of some form of social media shopping scam, and have fared no better than other common scams.
a report of AtlasVPN (opens in a new tab)discussing digital marketing company goodcompanies (opens in a new tab)The survey of 560 social media users shows that identity fraud Engagement (36.7% admitted to falling for one), gift card scams (also 36.7%), “help” scams (33.3%), and bogus job offers (30 %) are among the most effective scams, plus many more on the list.
As Atlas addresses it, the techniques between scams can change (for example, a phishing link is a largely automated process, while a romance scam involves direct contact with a threat actor), but the motives remain. the same: steal money, which could also mean data.
Online scam prevention
With the world running online to take advantage of the best black Friday offers (like ours in standing desks), the scourge of scams is unlikely to abate anytime soon. The only answer, it seems, is to educate rabid shoppers to become smart.
With their report, Atlas VPN gave their best tips for staying safe online. Among them, asking if a deal is too good to be true. This will always be an ever-trustworthy piece of advice for those worried about being scammed online. Technology evolves, but critical thinking skills are a vital constant.
As part of this, he recommends looking closely at a website’s link or profile to verify its veracity, noting that a company’s social media or website should look professional and have perfect spelling and grammar.
This is true, but it’s worth adding that it’s always prudent to inspect an actual web address, if you’re in any doubt about where it leads, before clicking on it. Atlas VPN suggests shopping at well-known brands, but you may have been sent a link to a site purporting to be that brand, with a very subtle typo in the web address.
This is also the case with mobile shopping apps. Rogue apps may pay for a higher listing placement for a certain keyword than the legitimate app you are likely looking for. Take a moment to compare what you’re seeing with what you’re looking for, and don’t be afraid to scroll.
Atlas VPN naturally recommends using a VPN service if you’re using public WiFi to shop, though we’d just recommend waiting until you get home whenever possible.
This can be cumbersome, but if you do manage to fall victim to a scam, you will mitigate the risk to your data much more than making your password, er, “password”.