How cybercriminals infiltrate your favorite social media platforms and your devices
During times like these (and always, let’s be real), teenagers use social media as a primary mode of connection. Social media provides young people with a means of expressing themselves, staying in touch with friends, and keeping up-to-date with the latest trends. The fact that social media brings us closer together is mostly positive! However, it also brings us closer to cybercriminals. Scammers utilize these channels to connect with teens and lure them into phishing scams, online shopping scams, imposter scams, and more.
Ways Scammers Target Teens
You might see a link in someone’s Instagram bio that looks suspicious, or maybe you received a DM from someone you don’t recognize. They may use some urgent language like, “Click now!” or “You don’t want to miss this!”. While these lines may sound like everyday influencer click-bait, they can be a tell-tale sign of a phishing scam. Best practice: never click a link that doesn’t come from a source you know and trust.
You may also receive phishing links by text message. If you receive an unsolicited text with a link, do not click. If you want to make note of the incident or ask someone about it, take a screenshot. Then, immediately delete the message from your phone.
If you happen to click on a phishing link, don’t panic. Be sure to tell a trusted adult and visit FightCybercrime.org for recovery steps.
Did your favorite influencer just follow you on TikTok? As cool as this would be, they are likely an imposter. Cybercriminals impersonate popular celebrities and internet personalities to scam their audiences. You may notice this account sending suspicious links like the ones we talked about earlier.
You’ve seen the blue checkmark next to the names of your favorite influencers on social media. It might not seem like much, but that blue checkmark means that person is legitimate, and the account belongs to a celebrity or industry leader. If you are unsure whether the person contacting you is the actual influencer, look for the blue checkmark next to their name.
If you see a fake profile impersonating you or someone else, you have come across a case of social media identity theft. The best thing to do in a situation like this? Report the profile on the platform you found it.
Online Shopping Scams
Did you see an ad on Snapchat offering a free car or a full-ride scholarship? Cybercriminals know that young people, especially those getting ready to start their freshman year of college, are often looking for financial help. The scammer offers deals that are too good to be true in hopes that you’ll jump on the opportunity and hand over your personal information.
If you made a payment and later found out it was an online shopping scam, contact your credit card company or bank right away to dispute the transaction.