Cybercriminals can be anyone they want when communicating on social media. All they need to know is who your contacts are, how you know each other and then they embark on their attack. While you think that you are talking to Jade Pops, you’re actually talking to a person you have never met before. Jade’s profile is just being used as a front to get close to you.
In other instances, they will approach you with a completely made up identity and gain your trust by having similar interests to you. Once they have you hooked or have gained your trust, they start requesting things.
You therefore need to be wary of messages you suddenly receive from people that you haven’t spoken to since high school. Or, if you get a message from your cousin’s friend who met you on a yacht you haven’t been on. Be aware.
Whether you use WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram or Facebook cybercriminals will always be looking for a loophole to gain access to you.
Recommended tips for secure online socialising
If you get a message and are hopeful that it’s Jade or your cousin’s friend, then rather contact them directly to verify that they messaged you. If they have no idea what you’re talking about then you are going to have to move on.
- Sense of urgency: Most messages require you to take immediate action to avoid a disaster. Rushing leads to mistakes, which is exactly what these criminals want you to do. If you receive an urgent request. Rather read it a few times and verify that the sender is who the message says it is, before taking action.
- Skip a step or two: Any request that requires you to bypass a security step or avoid protocol, is one that you need to delete and forget about.
- Request for personal information: Any request that asks you to share your contact details, ID or password number, usernames and passwords, or banking information should be avoided at all costs.
- Logic: If you receive an email looking communication, but the spelling, grammar and tone is questionable. Delete.