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Social media scams: beware request from ‘friend’

A Kaspersky survey found over two thirds of South Africans or someone they knew suffered from criminals via social networks.

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According to a Kaspersky survey, 68% of South African respondents highlighted that they or their loved ones suffered from criminals via social networks. In most cases fraudsters pretended to be familiar to potential victims: the manipulation scheme presented a request for help from a friend (59%).

Users may not recognise immediately who the person on the other side of the screen is. Though the majority of respondents mentioned that they or their loved ones identified the scammers immediately (63%), 30% still needed to start a dialogue for doing this.

“Social media are highly integrated in our daily life and scammers just cannot miss the opportunity to reach users directly through all the popular platforms”, says Maher Yamout, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky. “The fraudsters may find your personal data in your social media account and use it, for example with social engineering methods. In this case, we shouldn’t forget about basic security rules. For example, it’s better to hide private data and double-check your interlocutor if he urgently asks to transfer money or open a suspicious link.”

People also try to stay safe from scammers through special apps and programs. According to the survey, at least 49% of local respondents use special security solutions (antivirus) to protect themselves against online scams, 45% installed Caller ID and 31% apply built-in phone functions (blacklist and etc.) against phone fraud.

Kaspersky provided the following information on basic security rules:

  • Do not click on suspicious links in emails and messages in chats
  • If you have found out about a particular promotion and want to participate, check the official website or official social media accounts to reassure that this company or brand is holding it
  • Install a reliable security solution with up-to-date databases of phishing sites, scam and spam, such as Kaspersky Total Security
  • Never share confidential information with third parties, including a one-time code from an SMS or push notification
  • Install a solution that detects phone numbers of spammers and fraudsters
  • Remember: If an offer on the Internet sounds too tempting to be true, then most likely it is fake

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