If you’re new to Twitter, you might start to see warnings via the direct messaging (DM) facility claiming that ‘someone is posting nasty rumours about you’.
Out of a concern for your personal or brand reputation, or maybe just out of curiosity, you might be tempted to click the link and investigate. Don’t.
If you do, you run the risk of having your account hijacked. You’ll be directed to a fake Twitter log-in page where the scammers will ask you to enter your username and password (a common ploy is to tell you that your session has timed out).
Once they have these details they’ll start using your account to push diet pills, pornographic content and other undesirable products and services – in your name.
But not before they’ve sent a direct message to all of your followers – again, in your name – warning ‘someone is posting nasty rumours about you’. And so the scam spreads.
We all care about our online reputation, but in the case of this phishing scam investigating a report of bad publicity may do more harm than good.
In a similar vein, a scam is targeting Facebook users, who are being told in their News Feed about an App called Profile Visitor.
Profile Visitor (and similarly named Apps including Profile Spy and Profile Stalker) claims to be able to tell you who has been looking at your profile (in much the same way as the completely legitimate LinkedIn feature does).
It’s an App you have to install, so you’ll have to give Profile Visitor permission to connect with your personal account and / or pages. Once it does, it will mine your personal information and use your account to spam your friends, contacts and customers.
Knowing who has been looking at your posts would be great marketing intelligence – that’s why people fall for the scam. But Facebook doesn’t offer users this information, and says it has no plans to do so.
Both of these scams have been doing the rounds for over a year, but people are still falling into the traps.
If you’re unlucky enough to have had your Twitter account compromised, the best thing you can do is change your password (which should stop the flow of spam from your account), warn your followers that you have been scammed, and advise them not to click on any warnings seemingly sent by you.
In the case of the Facebook scam, remove the promotional posts from your Timeline (so that other users do not fall for it) and revoke the App’s publishing rights through the Privacy Settings in Account. Again, changing your password would be a good idea.
None of this should put you off using social media as part of your wider marketing strategy, of course. If you’d like a guide outlining the basics of social media marketing, get our free guide, What Are You On – A Realist’s Guide to Social Media Platforms. You can get a copy simply by Liking Secret Agent Marketing on Facebook, then asking us nicely for one! www.facebook.com/SecretAgentMarketing
For a personal one-to-one session about social media platforms and strategies, and how they can help your business, drop us a line.