It seems no matter where you go online lately, someone is reporting this celebrity has died or is trying to sell some other scam like Charities Fraud or Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes. Since these type of events or offers attract a lot of attention and are shared by uninformed users, it can harm a lot of people. No matter what social network you use, you are not immune to others trying to cause trouble for no other reason than their own selfish desires. If you were fooled by a social media scam in the past, you are not alone.
Everyday people are tricked by misleading tweets, Facebook solicitations for fake charities and LinkedIn requests for spam. If you find yourself a victim of this issue on social media, our guide will help protect you from the other side of using social networks.
How to avoid being fooled on Social Networks
Twitter has quickly become the number one social media site where users are getting scammed on an hourly basis. This is due to the sheer number of overall site users, the amount of spam and how quickly information travels on Twitter.
By the time you tweet, within seconds it can be in the hands of millions of other people. If this is the case, a “mistweet” about someone who has died or any other lie can spread around the world in a matter of minutes.
We recently saw this occur with the passing of The Green Mile actor Michael Clarke Duncan.
After his passing, the Twitter-verse filled with mourning but it also filled with misinformation.
In this case, a quick search for “Morgan Freeman” shows that people have caught onto the hoax but there are still Facebook pages, Twitter users and web sites reporting he has passed away. Even Morgan Freeman himself said he is alive and well but still the misinformation continued.
When something like this happens, you want to track down a legitimate news source for the information. Twitter, Facebook and other social media sites may not always get it right and there have even been cases when legitimate news sources have picked up on it and reported erroneously.
If you use Twitter, always remember to consider the source and find multiple sources away from Twitter that do not even refer to the social media site when reporting the news at hand.
Another one of the easiest ways to get sucked up in a scam online is to believe it is true because others have jumped on board. If you see a Facebook page with over one million fans, it must be true, right? Not necessarily.
Many “charities” promote themselves on Facebook but do not actually exist or represent the organization. Many Facebook users will Like and become fans because they believe it must be legitimate due to the amount of users who have done the same. As long as they are not the few who are starting the likes, it must be safe but this is simply not true.
If you think a charity page or other type of page is not legitimate, you must seek out the original source to find out if they have a social media presence. Most web sites for these organizations will list social media sites for you to directly link up to support.
Some web sites who have had issues in the past with fake social media pages popping up even issue warnings on their web sites.
Again, this is a case where you must take the time to check out the original source. Otherwise, you may find yourself the victim of falling for a scam, fraud and even giving out information that can be used against you.
The key to using social media, and the Internet in general, is to be vigilant. Unfortunately, there are many people out that who will use the Internet against other people, and it only takes one mistake to let them win. By being careful, checking your sources and taking the time before you believe what you read, you can avoid being fooled by social media scams.
Shouldn’t social media be foolproof?
Ideally, social media should be used for good and not for evil, but unfortunately there are too many people who are willing to take advantage of others. If you have ever been a victim of an online scam, you know how horrible it can be to pick up the pieces.
By being careful and not believing everything you see or everyone who joins this or does that, you can keep yourself safe from becoming a victim of even the simplest scams. Only by taking charge of how social media works for you can it be foolproof from pulling the wool over your eyes. Remember Be Skeptical, Be Informed, and Be Careful.
Related Reading: 6 Fact -Checking Websites to Help You Know the Truth