Bank scams have been around for centuries. These days, you’ll often see emails pop up in your inbox, saying something like: “You have just inherited $750,000!” Hopefully your spam filter catches them immediately, but if by chance it doesn’t and you call that number, you know it all goes downhill from there.
And as technology advances, so do scamming techniques. Many social media sites are now crawling with scams that can deplete your bank account and even steal your identity. Here are the top five social media banking scams you should watch out for.
The newest type of banking scam is what has become known as card cracking. Card cracking targets millennials who are active on social media, specifically Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Here’s how it works: The scammer sends a message with a promise of fast cash if the receiver provides their bank account credentials or PIN. Once they have that information, the scammer deposits a fake check into the victim’s account and then quickly withdraws money, after the bank has credited the check to the account but before the check has been cleared. If the victim is fortunate, the bank will agree to reimburse the fraudulently withdrawn amount, restoring the account balance. In addition, the victim pockets the kickback that the scammer promised them. In this scenario, the bank is the one who loses money. Card cracking is becoming increasingly common and accounted for an estimated $11.6 million in stolen funds in 2014.
Facebook Profile Viewer Tracking
Let’s face it: we all want to know who is viewing our Facebook profile—who doesn’t want to know if their ex-partner is still interested? But this is not a feature that Facebook provides, and if someone tells you that it is, it is too good to be true. There are many scams that promise to provide you with a way of tracking your profile views by clicking a link to download a program. Don’t fall for it! That link could infect your machine with malware that is able to extract your online banking login and potentially steal your identity as well as your money.
Dating Site Robots
Be wary of who you talk to on dating sites. You can run into not only less-than-desirable individuals, but also scam artists. Because of its current popularity, Tinder is especially prone to scams. One of the popular scams goes as follows: a robot (with a relatively legitimate-looking profile) messages a user and invites him or her to a webcam chat. When the user clicks the webcam link, they are asked to enter their credit card information. This can be tricky, as many users assume that the credit card information is required to verify their age. But that is not the case—there is no reason your credit card would be used to verify your age. There is no legitimate reason that you would ever be required to provide your credit card information to another user on a dating site.
Fake Google+ Invitations
There is a new scam that involves fake Google+ invitations. These invitations will appear in your Gmail inbox and contain links to various types of malware, particularly bank Trojans, which can hack and access your online banking credentials. If you receive Google+ invitations that seem questionable or are from people you don’t know, delete them immediately.
Work from Home Scams
The theme of all of these banking scams is: if it sounds too good to be true, it is. The same is true about scams that promise you thousands in income for working a few hours a week from home. Again, make sure you know who you are giving your information to—especially when it comes to your financial information. No legitimate employer is going to ask for your bank account number, credit card information or any type of payment before your first day on the job.
No matter which social media sites you use, you should always be careful with what you’re posting and what you’re clicking. A millisecond click on the wrong link can give you years of trouble. Here are three rules of thumb: 1) avoid clicking on unidentified links; 2) if it sounds too good to be true, it is; 3) never provide personal or financial information unless you know who is receiving that information. Follow those guidelines and you will be a safe and savvy social media user with money still in the bank.