For years, scammers have been using email to dupe their victims into sending money or divulging sensitive information. While that's still a problem, scammers are increasingly turning to social networks, such as Facebook, and using your friends against you, says Joe Ferrara, president and CEO of Wombat Security Technologies in Pittsburgh.
"To ensure safe social networking, never connect with anyone you haven't met, verify the identity of new friends and look out for scam messages, even from trusted friends, which could indicate an imposter," Ferrara says.
Spotting an imposter may be tough at first. The message, which can appear as a direct message or a post on your Facebook wall, is designed to look like it came from your friend's profile. A free treat from your favorite store presented by a friend can be a tempting offer, but before you click, Ferrara says you should ask yourself a few questions.
- Is the offer too good to be true?
- Is this really something my friend would write?
- Does the language have awkward phrasing or a lot of typos?
If any of those questions raise a red flag for you, don't click the link. And, if you want to verify the message, try contacting your friend directly about the offer.