| October 19, 2012

Scammers Now “Pinning” on Pinterest

Scammers will do whatever it takes to find new victims, even if this means tracking millions of users on different social media outlets. Their latest scheme involves targeting users on Pinterest, the third most popular social media platform.

As Pinterest allows user to “pin” pictures to virtual boards and discuss ideas with others, it also allows cyber criminals to engage in fraudulent activities. Pinterest has become an attractive platform for cyber criminals because they only need to pin a good picture in order to steal users” information. While Facebook and Twitter scammers usually have to come up with a sentence or a link to deceive users, on Pinterest an eye-catching picture is enough to attract attention, according to allclearid.com.

As part of National Protect Your Identity Week, taking place from Oct. 20 to 27th, experts from Consolidated Credit want to warn consumers about the following scams on Pinterest:

•Ads that take you to surveys promising a gift card or some type of monetary reward can be a scam. In this type of scam users are required to fill out a form in order to get a gift card. By doing this, scammers obtain users’ names, addresses and other personal information. If you come across any type of survey promising money or looking too good to be true, don”t click on it!
•Pornographic pictures are another ploy commonly used on social media outlets. One example is when photos appear on cell phones as small images and then users click on them, the images become expensive phone calls that will show up on users” phone bills, according to McAfee.
•Cyber criminals also create fake accounts to promote scams. Their strategy is to “friend” users and share content with them in the hopes that they will click on the scam at later date. Scammers also entice users to repost content that looks legitimate. The tactic is that by building relationships with users, the scam content will go viral. Keep in mind that as much as you trust your online friends, you can”t click on content posted on their pinboards if it looks suspicious.
•Ads that advertise an amazing product tend to be scams as well. For example, some ads show a series of thumbnails promoting a product supposedly sponsored by Pinterest. Once users click on the ad, they are taken to a different website that promises extraordinary results. These websites are successful in getting users” attention and are one of the most popular ways of stealing information. Think twice before clicking on an ad, since Pinterest doesn”t allow advertising, any ad you see it”s probably a scam. Other recommendations Pinterest suggests are to use strong passwords and avoid clicking on suspicious content.

Lastly, Pinterest is encouraging users to report scams by clicking on “Report pin” located on the right of pinned content.

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