Scammers are impersonating companies on social media to steal your info

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Scammers are impersonating companies on social media to steal your info
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Americans rely on their smartphones and the internet for pretty much everything these days — and unfortunately, it’s making it easier for criminals to catch people off guard.

Meanwhile, social media has become an increasingly effective way for companies of all sizes to communicate with customers — not only as a marketing tool, but also as a way to answer questions and deal with customer service issues.

So instead of calling or sending an email, many consumers will now contact a company via Facebook or Twitter — maybe to ask a question or file a complaint. And since many companies are prepared for these situations, it’s not surprising when you get a response.

The problem is, do you really know who sent that response?

Read more: 7 text messages to always ignore

Criminals impersonating companies to steal your info

Unfortunately, criminals do a great job of impersonating real companies and government agencies — using fake websites, emails, text messages and other methods of communication.

Now, they’re using phony social media accounts to trick consumers into handing over their personal information.

Here’s how it works: when a consumer contacts a company, or maybe their bank, on social media asking for help, a scammer responds to the person directly — prompting the user to click on a link to a fake website. Then when you get to the site, it looks just like the real thing — allowing criminals to convince unsuspecting consumers to enter their personal information in order to “get their issue resolved.”

One of the biggest problems with internet fraud is that criminals can make these websites and accounts look exactly like the official ones — which is why it is so crucial that consumers take steps to protect themselves online.

How to protect yourself

Scammers are everywhere these days, constantly coming up with new ways to infiltrate your daily activities. So when it comes to protecting yourself on social media, and from internet fraud in general, there are a few things you need to keep in mind!

Never post or share this information on social media:

  • Birth date
  • Mother’s maiden name
  • Family members’ full names
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Social Security number
  • When you’re going on vacation

If criminals get their hands on any of this information, it puts them one step closer to being able to access your accounts and other sensitive data.

Never text, email or give over the phone this information:

  • Social Security number
  • Credit card information
  • Copy of your driver’s license; driver’s license number
  • PIN codes or passwords
  • Any type of payment method containing your sensitive info

More tips to protect yourself:

7 effective ways to protect your money

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Alex Thomas Sadler About the author:
Alex is the Managing Editor of Clark.com and host of Common Cents, a series that makes money simple. By breaking down complicated concepts, Alex shows you how to better understand your money and make smarter decisions — so you can take control of your own life and future! Learn more here.
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