Student Guide to Social Media Scams


The world is currently in a social media craze. These platforms link us with our loved ones, aid our shopping, and offer many fun opportunities.

But according to reports, fraudsters are increasingly leveraging these sites to con users.  On average, business websites encounter over 30,000 attacks every day. However, social media accounts face up to ten times this daily statistic. Clearly, social networking frauds have turned pervasive. 

In addition to the increasing attack frequency, scammers develop cunning strategies to defraud innocent users. Students are among the top victims of these criminal acts, especially those who frequently use unsure websites. Students that hire cheap research paper writers online should do so from reputable websites to ensure their data is always protected. They should also familiarize themselves with the most common social media hoaxes and how to overcome them. 

What Are Social Media Scams?

This common phrase refers to criminals' fraudulent tactics on social media platforms. They aim to influence users to surrender sensitive data, transact, or participate in dangerous or criminal activities. 

Most people confuse the term with social engineering. However, these two refer to different situations. In social engineering, criminals maliciously mess up a person's decision-making and trick them into performing an undesirable act. It entails psychological manipulation.

Nonetheless, users of all ages should pay close attention to the common risks and proactively safeguard their privacy and data. As more and more users report successful social media scams, learning to identify criminal activities puts users in a better position to enhance their online security. 

Common Examples of Social Media Scams 

Cybercriminals use every trick possible to breach user security and steal data. However, their most common strategies include:

Romance Scams

Romance scams are among the most common tactics used by criminal elements. Unsuspecting users can accept friend requests from unknown individuals who act extra friendly yet are scammers behind the scenes. The actors exploit their victims until they unwittingly share their sensitive data or send them cash. 

Fake Friends

It's always safe to be wary of the people you interact with, whether on the web or in real life. Cases of "Facebook" friends soliciting cash have been on the rise. Some scammers may even steal the identity of a person familiar with the user. After disguising themselves, they send them phishing links that direct them to malicious sites. 

Hidden URLs

Criminals sometimes shorten page URLs, preventing users from viewing the true page location. Though not widespread, this scam is popular on Twitter. Most shortened links easily send users to the correct site location. However, there's a great risk of ending up on malware infected platform. The most common victims of deception are those who don't check the message content or links they click on. In addition, social media users who lack real-time spyware protection face immense risk. 

Crypto Investment Scam

There have also been cases of criminals attempting to lie to users that they're selling cryptocurrency. Once someone falls into this trick, they'll only realize later that they paid for worthless digital assets. By then, the criminal will have disappeared. 

Social Media Scraping

Another category of scammers works to harvest users' data on social media. A good example is the scams where users believe the fake promise that they'll know who visited their profile. This trick mostly works for curious students facing relationship hurdles. 

Instead of delivering, threat actors simply add malware to their victims' devices and collect their data. Despite actively stealing data, the malware usually has no connection with the social networking site. 

Most of the time, the scammers proceed to send similar texts to friends and family members of those they've tricked. This approach works because the associates will likely believe their loved one's recommendation. Consequently, the problem spreads in no time.

Brand Collaborations 

Social media influencers mostly earn through brand collaborations. Typically, legitimate partnerships often benefit all the involved parties. But not all these offers can be trusted. Some of them come with unreal deals and phishing links. Targets who lack caution always end up as victims.

Fake News

This is a widespread problem. Some threat actors are confident enough to impersonate social networking sites, so their acts spread fast. Such false details may inform you of pricing changes based on membership. Furthermore, some users receive assurances of billing exemptions and discounts once they share the phony announcement within a certain duration. 

Fake news spreads faster than most other scams because new participants think they're coming through for their loved ones by keeping them in the know. But in most instances, it's usually a phishing attack attempting to manipulate them and obtain data cunningly. 

Free App Downloads

Social media scammers also take advantage of unwitting users by appearing as genuine app downloads. Often, the app may prompt you to share crucial data. Occasionally, users have been tricked into a seemingly real app. Without knowing, they're infecting their devices with malware.

Users who fall for this usually fail to ascertain the fake app's trustworthiness. It can also be successful if the targeted individual doesn't research or is accustomed to third-party download platforms. 

Fake Job Offers

There are more job seekers out there than available vacancies. Cybercriminals know this situation exists and are already taking advantage of the situation. Of course, there are numerous legitimate job opportunities on social media. 

But the huge number of fake postings cannot be ignored. These phony opportunities mostly feature exaggerated offerings, such as dangling carrots for those actively looking for work. 

Social media users failing to verify the jobs' genuineness on the poster's website face the greatest risk. Such individuals may fill out fake forms, not knowing that they're placing their sensitive data in the hands of malicious actors. 

Staying Safe From Social Media Scams

From the above tricks, it's clear that today's scams are increasingly complex. But students and other social media users can overcome the setbacks through several best practices. For instance, restricting access to your posts can block curious hackers from reconfiguring your page. It's also important to stay off strangers and unverified users.  

Another way to beef up social media security is to unsubscribe from targeted ads and verify all connection requests. Finally, ensure you take part in cybersecurity awareness training.