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Durban - Beware of fraudsters using social media to "phish"; warn experts.

With all the time social media users spend posting "selfies," checking in and hash tagging, they become careless with information they share, says Kovelin Naidoo, chief cyber security officer at FNB. 

Naidoo said social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have become a feeding ground for fraudsters looking to prey on unsuspecting consumers. 

“Given that the popularity of social media is set to remain for the coming years, consumers are encouraged to constantly educate themselves and their loved ones about the latest methods that fraudsters use to get hold of their victims’ personal information,” said Naidoo.

These are some of the scams Naidoo urged social media users to look out for;

Blackmail – never share personal photos or videos on social media that portray you in a compromising position as scammers can use these against you by threatening to send them to close family members or upload them on public platforms.

Media law expert Emma Sadlier, social media users needed to make sure to avoid being silly in front of a camera, saying that the main thing about something embarrassing that gets onto the internet is that is stays there forever, even after you have deleted it.

In her book Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex- co-authored with Tamsyn de Beer- Sadlier writes, “Don’t do stupid things, especially not in front of a camera.” 

Phishing - beware of fraudsters pretending to represent your bank on social media platforms. Your bank will never ask for your credit or cheque card, account number, online banking login details or password or One Time PIN (OTP) on social media platforms.

 Help and favours - be on high alert when asked for special financial favours or urgent assistance by strangers, no matter how caring or persistent the individuals may seem.

 Never share your banking details with strangers and think twice before sending money to someone you recently met online or haven’t met in person yet.

 Dating and romance scams - people who use social media platforms to meet companions or their life partners should lookout for fraudsters that play on emotional triggers to scam people out of their hard earned cash.

 Identity theft – avoid sharing personal information, such as ID, passport, drivers licence, payslip, bank statement, municipal or account statements on social media. Fraudsters can steal your information and use it illegally by impersonating you.

 “When all safety precautions are taken into account, social media remains one of the best platforms that consumers can use to keep up to date with the latest news and trends, interact and catch up with friends and family,” said Naidoo.

 Sadleir said the solution was simple. You must ask yourself if you would also put whatever you are about to post on a giant billboard, next to your face, name, and your parents’ names, where you work and went to school.

Because, she warns, everything on the Internet is just like a tattoo — you never get rid of it entirely.

The Mercury