Fraud Alert: How to Avoid the latest social media fake video phishing scam
There’s a new phishing scam making its way through social media that you need to be aware of. If somebody sends you a link asking, “Is this you in the video?”, don’t click on it. Even if the message comes from someone you know, there is a possibility that the innocent looking link is actually malicious.
Reports of this latest phishing scam have revealed that the messages are coming through hacked social media and email accounts. Once a scammer is in the account, they are then able to send out identical messages and links to everybody on the hacked account’s contact list.
That means these messages look like they are coming directly from someone you know and trust, including your friends, family, and co-workers. Scammers are able to capitalize on the fact that many friends frequently share links and videos with each other through platforms like Facebook messenger. Because it’s such a natural thing, clicking on them ussually isn't given a second thought.
The perpetrators of this scam also add another element to trick you. By asking if you or someone you know is in the video, scammers are trying to elicit an emotional response that causes you to click the link.
But here’s the catch—most links don’t even contain a video. In fact, the only reason for including the link is because it will send you to a dangerous phishing website designed to get your personal information. They want you to click the link and are trying to manipulate your emotions to get that result.
New method, same idea
Scammers are always looking for more victims, and better ways to get victims to act. It’s known as social engineering. Rather than forcefully downloading malware or directly hacking your system, an individual will use emails, messages, phone calls, or other methods of contact to manipulate you into giving away control. These fake video scams are just the latest in a long line of attempts.
Internet users should be aware of other common phishing threats, like emails that impersonate popular brands or messages claiming to be from government agencies.
Before you start worrying too much— remember there are easy ways to secure yourself against a scam like this.
1. Check the sender
Some links are sent from hacked accounts, but not all of them are. If the message comes from somebody you don’t know, this is a good reason not to open it.
2. Beware of shortened URLs
If you receive a link shortened with something like Bitly or TinyURL, be wary and double-check the surrounding message before clicking. Not all short URLs indicate malicious intent, in fact, there are many good reasons somebody might shorten a URL, but they can be used in the wrong way. The shortened version conceals the destination, making it more difficult to know what website the link will send you to.
3. Consider the context
If you get the message from a friend or somebody you know, does it make sense? Does the message sound like how they would talk? Were you expecting a link in the first place? Anything that seems weird should raise a red flag, and you should give them a call to make sure it’s them before opening.
4. Keep your security up to date
This applies to more than just video scams. You should have security software installed on your computer that deals with threats. You should also protect social media, email, and other accounts with strong passwords and multi-factor authentication.
5. Just think about it
Read the message. If something feels off, but you don’t know what, trust your instincts and avoid clicking. When something looks suspicious, there’s a good chance something might be up. In any case--it’s better safe than sorry.
We want all of our members’ information to stay safe, which is why we want to inform you fraud and other scams as they are happening. To stay up to date with the latest in fraud and scams, keep an eye on our blog. You’ll find tips, tricks, and ways to avoid being a victim of one of these schemes.