Phishing scams, a widespread threat, are one of the most effective approaches for tricking people out of money or fooling them into exposing personal information. This fraudulent activity has found new ways to scam vulnerable people and spread its evil target in the digital world of social media.
Social media platforms are used by more than half of the world’s population. Many of us use these platforms for sharing our interests, hometowns, birthdays, and likes to others.
This data is valuable for hackers. They can use it to trick us into providing our personal information. This fraudulent technique is carried out using a method called phishing attacks.
According to research recently released by the Federal Trade Commission, scams would cost $8.8 billion in 2022, a shocking 30% rise from the previous year. To avoid falling victim to a social media phishing attack, it’s important to understand what it involves and how a hacker could trick you before taking any security measures.
Social media phishing enables attackers to blend in with the crowd, even though classic email-based phishing is still a successful method of misleading people. They can carry out covert victim study before carrying out attacks that often go unknown.
Fraudsters are prone to take advantage of the more relaxed and trusting environment available online. The main reason for the success of these frauds is that users are less careful about links on social media than they are on other platforms.
Common Social Media Phishing Scams
Social media has shown to be a vital tool for threat actors to execute social engineering, a set of misleading methods in which attackers take advantage of your trusting nature to gather sensitive information.
Users commonly reveal where they live, careers, and holiday locations. Unknowingly, people may not realise how simple it is for a hacker to plan and execute the attack.
In the UK, phishing emails hit more than 90% of businesses in 2021. Social media networks regularly email users to advise them of security measures or account-related information.
Users unfortunately have an excuse to take these emails at value when they come from legitimate social networking sites. These email templates are typically common and well-known, making them simple to spoof.
Cybercriminals take advantage of the fact users often overlook the email’s layout details by including fraudulent links and buttons inside the body of the email. Once clicked, these links take visitors to malicious websites where fraudsters can steal personal information.
Fraudsters commonly use techniques like creating false password reset or triggering malware downloads to trick users into disclosing their personal information.
- The rise of social media has transformed the way customers connect with businesses, since they now routinely seek assistance from businesses via their social media platforms. Unfortunately, scammers have been fast to take advantage of this online connection to establish phoney accounts that spoof well-known firms. According to recent studies, 19% of social media identities that claimed to be associated with well-known companies were fake.
- False company sites and employment scams are created by fraudsters to use LinkedIn. They obtain private data and utilise it in phishing scams. They could offer a false employment opportunity, deliver a false paycheck, and then disappear once the victim deposits the cheque and returns a portion of the money, causing the victim to lose their money.
- A common social media scam is cryptocurrency investment or giveaway fraud that is marketed using fictitious celebrity profiles on Twitter and Facebook. In order to steal over $2 million in 2021 alone, these convincing impostors utilise urgent language that is interesting. Cybercriminals have impersonated the profiles of well-known individuals, including Elon Musk and Barack Obama.
Protecting Yourself from Phishing on Social Media
The risk of becoming vulnerable to such scams is increasing along with the growing number of phishing attacks. However, there are a number of easy and feasible measures that one can implement to improve their safety.
It’s important to remember that trusted social media networks would never request their users update their personal information via a link. Usually, the purpose of these links is to collect sensitive information or spread malware. It is preferred to go straight to the social media network’s help sites and double-check the information if there is confusion regarding the authenticity of such requests.
Make it a habit to check the URL and source of every message or email you receive. Check whether you have already engaged with them. Take note of any potential phishing indicators inside the email, such as typosquatting or suspicious email addresses.
Avoid making your personal information public on social media. You might be curious to discover if a sequence of random questions can correctly determine your age. However, answering these simple questions might have negative consequences for you.
In case you fall victim to social media phishing, be sure to report the incident to the social media network through their site or app’s reporting mechanism. The UK’s national fraud reporting centre, Action Fraud, can be reached at 0300 123 20 40 or through their website if you have experienced financial loss as a result of social media phishing or any other illegal activity.
Phishing attacks are on the rise, and it is important to protect your organisation. One effective way to do this is by increasing user awareness about these types of attacks. Phishing Tackle is a great resource that can help you in this regard. They offer a free 14-day trial to help train your users to recognise and avoid phishing attacks.
Although technology can be helpful, it cannot spot 100% of phishing emails. Therefore, user education is crucial to minimising the impact of any successful attacks. Consulting with Phishing Tackle can provide valuable insights and tools to help you strengthen your defences against phishing attacks.