Be sure to review offers closely
Encourage your child to do their research before sharing details for offers on social media, especially if something is advertised as ‘free’. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
At a quick glance, many social media scams appear genuine. For example, scammers might include the logo of a popular brand to catch users’ eyes and convincing them to click.
Help children learn to identify false information with Find the Fake.
Scams seek to collect data
Scams often look to harvest data and sell it to a third party. One such scam claims to tell you who visits your social media profile. This is particularly enticing to curious children and young people navigating the challenging experiences of relationships and popularity.
However, these offers simply collect personal data by adding malware to devices. This malware collects personal data and is not connected to the social media platform in question.
Oftentimes, these scams also message friends and followers to recommend the service to them. This is because research shows we are much more likely to believe a recommendation from a friend. So, the problem spreads.
Learn about data breaches and staying safe with advice from the National Cyber Security Centre.
Scammers might impersonate well-known brands
Research from Ofcom* found that 61% of children aged 12-17 identified a social media post as genuine because of the brand logo. While the post in question was genuine, scammers can easily use brand logos to mislead social media users. What’s more, some scams are very difficult to detect because the websites mimic the originals very well.
Some scams are easily detectable with spelling errors and slightly altered logos. However, others copy brands and platforms very well, leading to more victims.
Additionally, because we are so used to seeing ads from these brands, it could become more difficult to sort out real ones from scams.
If something appears to come from a brand:
- visit the brand website directly to confirm deals. Discounts and sales are advertised on social media but, if genuine, will show up on the official website.
- check that the social media profile is genuine. Most social media platforms allow companies to verify their accounts. Furthermore, any social media profile should link directly to the brand’s official website.
- avoid clicking links from unknown accounts. Phishing can happen through emails, text and social media, so it’s important to navigate directly to the site instead of through suspicious links.