How to protect yourself from scams on social networks?

Enticing ads that allow you to convert cryptocurrencies and make quick money, amazing discounts from famous brands, dream trips or generous prizes that are only a click away from you – are some of the frequent offers on social networks that users come across today. However, you should not rush to click on the offer, which will “change your life”.

How Facebook, Instagram, Youtube and other platforms, in recent years, have recorded a constant growth of users, so the number of potential abuses and fraud is on the rise. Social networks have become our primary source of entertainment and an indispensable part of life, but also a serious threat and fertile ground for fraudsters, who also use them.

According to the regional survey “I choose digitally” conducted by Visa earlier this year, almost a quarter of consumers in Serbia use a smartphone every day to pay and perform transactions, but a third of respondents are still not familiar with all security mechanisms that protect this type of transaction. Visa presents some of the most common techniques that fraudsters around the world use on social networks, as well as a few simple tips on how to protect personal and financial data.


Scammers will think a lot about creating attractive campaigns with baits on social networks. Juicy headline, irresistible video, current news article – everything that will make individuals click and access a malicious link. Once an individual clicks on the link, the victim is asked to log in again, to accept application permissions, or to verify the authenticity of their data via a fake login screen. When you sign up, fraudsters get your credentials as well as access to passwords and profile information.

False representation

Impersonation or so-called “phishing” is one of the common techniques used by fraudsters on social networks. Scammers contact their victims via Facebook or Twitter or by direct message, offering a gift or special offer, or forwarding a link that leads to a website that requests information about your card or account. Another case is that by clicking on the link, the smartphone picks up the malware, which then sends messages from your profile to the entire contact list. Because the messages that individuals receive come from someone they trust, users fall into the trap and inadvertently download the virus.

Hidden or abbreviated URLs

Most malicious campaigns are accompanied by short URLs. While URL shortening services (like TinyURL) can be helpful, they can also easily disguise themselves as malicious URLs and lead users to believe the link is valid. You’ll see short URLs everywhere on social media, but you’ll never know where they’re pointing you because URL “shorteners” hide the entire website address. So when using social networks and shopping, you can easily fall into the trap and end up on fake sites and pages.

Quizzes and other applications

On Facebook or Twitter, you’ll see quizzes like, “Which celebrity do you look like the most?” “What star sign are you?” or “Click here to predict your future.” After completing the quiz, you are often asked to subscribe to a particular service and share card and account information, which is then misused.

How to protect yourself?

Although the frequency of fraud on social networks has been increasing in recent years, there are still a few simple tips you can follow and prevent potential misuse of your personal and financial data.

Use verified sites

Always use verified sites, avoid suspicious links and shop exclusively through official store sites. There are sites that are safe to buy and supported by leading technology companies. Thus, the presence of the Visa brand is a sign of reliability and security. Namely, Visa has implemented the Visa Secure label on hundreds of thousands of merchant websites, in order to make online transactions more secure, and on all sites where you see the Visa logo – you can shop without worries.

Perform double verification

As more and more consumers use a smartphone to shop through social networks, it is important to know how to protect sensitive data stored on your smart devices in these cases. Today, most leading social media platforms offer double verification. This usually involves linking your account to a mobile phone to verify or provide a code sent via text. This is the simplest way to prevent hackers from hacking your account.

To keep online transactions secure, Visa has developed Verified by Visa technology, based on the 3D Secure security standard adopted by the payment industry. Thanks to this technology, when paying online, the cardholder is sent an SMS with a one-time password, without which it is impossible to complete the transaction. This means that the cardholder is immediately notified of all activities on his card, including suspicious ones, and that he can inform his bank about it.

In addition, Visa uses tokenization – a technology that allows in each transaction to replace confidential payment data with a unique digital identifier – a token, without the risk of being compromised. Personal data as well as transaction data are not passed on to other persons, even the telecommunications provider does not know your card data. If someone intercepted the token, it could not be used elsewhere, service or device, because it represents a unique series of digits that occurs in each transaction.

Provide only basic information

The best way to protect sensitive information is not to give it away at all. Most of the data required by social platforms is optional. Do not give more information about yourself, your family, location, interests unless it is mandatory. When shopping on Instagram or Facebook, do not share the PIN code, do not send a photocopy of the card or other document to the inbox page on social networks. Scammers are becoming more and more creative in finding new types of scams. Therefore, educate and inform yourself on the topic of security and use social networks wisely, with a small dose of skepticism.

Source: Personal magazin by

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