How Your Social Signals Attract Scammers

Did you know that your online activity can attract scammers? As frightening as it sounds, fraudsters are actively looking for targeted prey right now.
And because the Internet makes it easy to find unsuspecting victims who show ‘desirable traits’, scammers secretly follow your online activities to see if you are a worthy target.
Here’s a list of common social media updates that can attract the wrong kind of attention.

1. I’ve been scammed!

You are emotionally at your weakest when you’ve just been scammed. You’re more likely to listen to somebody who appears to have a solution. And scammers know this. They may suggest that they can help you catch the fraudster or recover what you lost.

What to do:

Raise your guard if someone contacts you with an offer of help not long after you’ve been a victim. Unless you can verify that they’re a police officer, there’s a good chance they want to milk you of the little you have left.

2. I’m grieving. I don’t know what to do.

It takes time to heal from trauma. The death of someone close, divorce, job loss, and life-changing accidents leave you heartbroken and unsure of how to proceed.
Scammers know it pays to strike while the iron is hot. Your uncertainty and stress make you an easy target for fraud and you may find yourself being approached by people offering a shoulder to cry on.

What to do:

Vet ‘friends’ who suddenly flood your inbox with consoling messages claiming they are interested in helping you heal. Unless they are family or close friends, they may have ulterior motives.

3. I’m lonely. Why can’t I find love?

Being lonely is tough. When you’re lonely, you’re more likely to fall for romantic overtures from strangers as you fight to fill the gap in your life and reconnect to love. You can find love online, but remember that dating scams are one of the most successful global frauds: scammers prey on your vulnerability to romance, your desire to be loved, and your hope for happiness.

online love
What to do:

Fake internet lovers will be in a rush to go to the next level. Dig deep for information, analyze conversations, look out for inconsistencies, and play safe. When they talk about money, run!

4. I’m a risk-taker!

Do you believe that to win you must first lose? Are you a bold investor with a strong appetite for high-yield investments, who believes in taking big risks for huge rewards? When you post about your love of risk, you send scammers into high gear. They will design some scheme promising high returns for minimal investment and contact you.

What to do:

Never skip your due diligence. When someone contacts you with juicy details about a scheme to make you rich, check everything. If you find anything amiss, cut off the discussion, block the fraudster and report them to the authorities.

5. Rome was built in a day!

Online success stories, fake reviews and “maverick” marketing tell you that instant results are possible or even likely. If you believe the hype, you’re a soft target for scammers. All it takes is an offer of instant riches by cutting corners, breaking the rules, or taking shortcuts – albeit at a small fee – and you’re on your way to losing everything.

What to do:

Scammers look for comments, likes and shares which suggest you admire people who made it by cutting corners or though unconventional means. If somebody approaches you offering to help you cut corners to achieve unbelievable results, run!

6. I Trust People!

Trusting too easily is dangerous, especially online. But always doubting what you read or hear is a two-edged sword. On the upside, it’s a basic defense against scammers. But it’s also a sign that you’re likely to trust too quickly if they approach you in the right way, without realizing you’ve been set up.

What to do:

If you trust easily, train yourself to be more cynical. Ask questions, look for motives. If you doubt everyone, be especially careful of anyone who appears to be on your side, who “understands” your doubt. And when you trust, never follow blindly.

7. I don’t give a damn about the news!

Although it’s often depressing, the news is good for you. You’re better informed about what’s trending and more likely to be aware of the latest tricks scammers have up their sleeves. If you comment on how much you dislike news, you’re telling scammers that you have no idea about their latest dirty scheme.


What to do:

If you don’t want to follow the news, find a couple of specialist scam-reporting sites that issue public announcements on your favorite social media platform. Scam warnings in your feed make it easier to ignore or counter fraud.

8. I’m the greatest!

Sometimes you’re so happy with your achievements that you enjoy bragging a little on social media. Remember the scammer is waiting there, just behind your screen, keeping tabs. The thing is, if you have all that success and you seem to be living your dreams, the scammer knows he won’t leave empty-handed.

What to do:

It’s good to celebrate success, and admittedly showcasing your trophies is often harmless or even inspiring for others. However, let your excitement cool off a little and don’t constantly boast or you may end up attracting unwanted attention.

9. YOLO!

Believing “you only live once” implies that you’re passionate about tasting everything you can. You’re likely to think that life doesn’t offer second chances, which makes you easier to excite with ideas that lack logic. Fraudsters are particularly fond of YOLO believers as they tend to adopt ideas quickly, without second thoughts, and are frequently online looking for new experiences.

What to do:

You might love experimenting and want to taste everything but take the time to have second thoughts and dampen your enthusiasm when online. Otherwise, you may announce yourself as an easy mark and fraudsters will try their luck.

The bottom line

Cybersecurity is as much about behavior as technology. With online scammers taking advantage of all your favorite online platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and forums, among others – it is better to think twice before you hit the submit button. Since you can’t tell who is on your online trail, the strategies above will improve your defenses but ultimately, your best protection is awareness.
Scammers constantly come up with new ways to cheat you out of your cash. This list is not exhaustive and some of you could be applying other defenses against would-be scammers who try to take advantage of particular personality traits. What other tactics do you use to protect yourself against online scammers
Let me know in the comments section!

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