December 19, 2022

Take Steps to Protect Yourself from Online Scams

By Sona Mathews

Scammers create fake identities on social media and use sophisticated tactics to take advantage of honest, unsuspecting targets.

It's wise to be aware of this potential problem and learn to recognize potential criminal activity through social media.

Take Steps to Protect Yourself from Online Scams: eAskme
Take Steps to Protect Yourself from Online Scams: eAskme

But, then, we need to work together to stop these people and protect our customers' identities.

How Big is This Problem?

Creating fake LinkedIn profiles is not permitted by the professional networking platform, and LinkedIn has many preventative measures to identify and remove fake accounts.

But scammers are constantly developing new ways to get around security measures.

Some marketers are even skirting the rules and using artificial intelligence to create false identities with convincing photographs to generate leads before passing the information to an actual salesperson.

The problem has grown so big that in just the first six months of 2021, LinkedIn deleted 15 million fake accounts.

Most of these accounts were identified when the criminal tried to sign up with the platform or soon after.

Regardless of what LinkedIn does to protect you, it's a good idea to learn to recognize potential scams so you don't fall for any of their tricks. 

These lessons also apply to social media platforms other than LinkedIn.

How Do You Know It's a Scam?

Criminals create fake profiles to send phishing emails that request personal information, such as passwords and credit card numbers.

These profiles can be compelling, with headshots and backgrounds that seem real at first glance.

A scammer may use the information on your social media accounts to add to the emails and text messages, creating a sense of legitimacy to their request.

Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you identify a fraudster:

  • Is the account new, or is there very little activity or background information on the page?
  • Are generic stock photos used on the account?
  • Are the messages overly urgent and ask you to click links?
  • Do you know the person in real life?
  • Is the offer too good to be true? (If it is, then it probably isn't real.)
  • Are there typos or grammatical mistakes in the message?
  • Do they ask for financial information?

Trust your gut. Even if a message doesn't trigger any of the typical warning signs, it probably isn't if something doesn't feel right.

Awareness will help you identify a scammer early on and keep your personal and financial information safe.

Never accept an invitation or respond to a request from someone you don't know.

Even just responding to the message can add an appearance of legitimacy to the fake LinkedIn account.

What to Do if You Think Someone Is Fake?

Online scams are a form of fraud. They use fake identities or impersonate legitimate companies to steal money or identities for illegal purposes.

Sometimes, even the most cautious and diligent person falls for a scam. If this happens to you, don't be embarrassed.

Unfortunately, you are not the only person this happened to—even experienced technology professionals sometimes let their guard down that one time and fall victim to a phishing expedition.

You should first report the incident to your local law enforcement and get a copy of the incident report.

Then, depending on the circumstances, you should contact your insurance company to see if any of your loss is covered under a policy.

If the scam came through LinkedIn or you suspect a fake profile, report the account to LinkedIn. Also, report any online scam to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

We All Need to Do Our Part:

Cybercrime is a growing problem in Canada and the rest of the world—and we should all do our best to stop this behavior.

Still have any question, feel free to ask me via comments.

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