Just trying to catch up on the latest gossip? Or figure out who won what at that award show? Be careful and think before you click. Scammers use the wide recognition of popular celebrities to lure users into trusting links and websites they shouldn’t. Read on for examples of some (ph)ishy scams.
Business Opportunities From Celebs
In the social media universe a pseudo phishing scam has been going on since February 1st. Hackers are using the names of tech tycoons like Elon Musk or John McAfee to launch a scam that Wired calls a mix of the “foreign prince scam and a social media impersonation.”
Basically these Twitter accounts are exploiting the booms and busts of the cryptocurrency market. They’re promising high returns for little skin, and are using Twitter names that closely resemble famous tech giants in order to trick other users into thinking that they are the ‘real deal’.
The scary truth is this lesson isn’t restricted to the cryptocurrency field. If someone approaches you about an investment where you don’t have to put too much money down but have the world to gain, you should be skeptical.
FixMeTip: Watch for spelling, grammar, and typos, especially in how your favourite tech tycoon identifies themselves!
Exclusive Invites From Celebs
With awards season comes increased attempts from hackers to borrow a celebrity’s name to trick users into visiting malicious sites.
These sites often offer access to photos or videos of your favourite stars on hidden web pages or maybe even the chance to meet them. Often the sites will infect a user’s computers with drive-by downloads or address spoofing.
We all want to be close to stardom, and scammers play off of this emotional impulse by offering users exclusive content. If you only see a call to action but no hint of the content to follow it’s probably not a good idea.
This cat and mouse game is played out more and more over social media platforms. If you think you’ve been targeted by an online group follow these steps to get out of it:
- Remove the culpable accounts from your feed, along with their content
- Report the accounts to the platform authorities, like Facebook or Twitter
- Tell your friends on those platforms to beware of activity coming from your feed
- Install an antivirus like McAfee and run a FixMeStick scan so you’re sure no malicious software was fed into your device.