Social media is a hotbed for scammers and criminals. But with a little extra knowledge and effort, you can keep yourself and your family safe.
Social media is a scammer paradise. It gives criminals access to a large audience. It’s also very easy for scammers to pretend to be someone else, letting them take advantage of the trust we have for friends and relatives.
Take some time to educate yourself about common social media scams and ways social media makes your vulnerable to fraud . The more you know, the better you can protect yourself!
Learn how to get started building your budget and personal money management skills.
7 Strategies to Stay Safe from Social Media Scammers
1. Check Your Privacy Settings. Always check your privacy settings to find out who can see the information you are sharing. Many major platforms, like Facebook, are making this easier than ever. Remove personal information like your birthdate and location. Turn off location services on apps that don’t require it or that you are not using. Limit what posts and photos can be seen publicly.
2. Don’t share financial information. Do not send money to people you’ve never met in person. Never share sensitive financial or personal information on social media, not even in direct messages. If you are looking for investment or other financial opportunities, do not follow links from social media. Instead, visit trusted websites directly.
3. Watch how you pay. Scammers particularly like wire transfers, cryptocurrency and gift cards as payment because they are hard to track and it can be impossible to get your money back. Requests for these forms of payment are red flags for scams.
4. Doublecheck photos. Make sure there is no personal information hiding in plain sight before you post. Also, be careful how you share. Major social media sites scrub metadata (hidden details in picture or video files) from your photos. But not all sites do. And emailed photos often contain this information. Your camera app could be storing your exact GPS location in your photos and videos.
5. Verify identity. If a family member or friend contacts you to ask for financial help or tell you about an opportunity, call them. And be wary of crowdfunding campaigns when you do not personally know the person asking for help (read more about charity scams here ). In general, don’t trust that people online are who they say they are.
6. Research companies before you buy. Go directly to well-known companies’ sites instead of clicking links. Do an internet search for less-known companies, including the name of the company and words like “scam” and “complaint.”
7. Put your safety first. Be very careful about agreeing to meet anyone in the real world. Take precautions to make sure you are safe, like meeting in a crowded public place and telling someone else where you’ll be and who you’ll be with.
Heritage Bank wants our customers to stay safe and protect their financial and personal information. To learn more about protecting yourself from scams and fraud, visit: https://www.ourheritage.bank/Fraud.
Heritage Bank. Member FDIC.