The most common and hardest to detect if you’re not entirely tech savvy are the pages that advertise free flights, tickets or even simple quizzes supposedly from recognised brands. Qantas Air was apparently giving away free business class flights, all you had to do was fill in a survey, but unfortunately this was in no way connected to Qantas and instead scammers who were using phishing techniques to acquire personal data. The criminals would set up these bogus pages, collect enough likes and comments but the redirecting link actually goes to a dangerous place where information can be compromised.
Clickbait links, complete with cute animals and funny memes, the sort that garner idle clicks, are used to lure the unsuspecting. From this point the user is subjected to viruses, worms, trojans, spyware, malware and the latest, ransomware. But at first, the content will actually be harmless, it is only until the post receives enough attention before the content is flipped. Quizzes and surveys are other methods of attracting visitors, which involve submitting personal details in exchange for a humorous response or free gifts.
Not all scams necessarily lead to theft of money or identity, but even low-level scams can still cause headaches. A quiz app, which garnered more than 18million sign ups for terms and conditions which explicitly state that the user’s details can be passed onto third parties. The app also gained permission to access name, date of birth, gender, birthdays and friend lists which could also be used for advertisement purposes. This of course would be invaluable to advertising companies, as well as for more shady purposes.
To stay safe online, always be careful on links you click on, even ones that have seemed to amass hundred of likes and shares. Another piece of valuable advice is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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