Common social media scams and how to avoid them

So to help keep you safe online, I’ve compiled a list of the top scams that cybercriminals use to get your information, and what you can do to avoid them.

Common social media scams and how to avoid them

The internet is rife with social media scams, cons, and tricks designed to cause all sorts of mischief, like swindling you out of your hard-earned money or infecting your computer with viruses just for fun.

So to help keep you safe online, I’ve compiled a list of the top scams that cybercriminals use to get your information, and what you can do to avoid them.


Chain letters

In the past, they’d arrive through our letterboxes, but now we get them virtually on our newsfeeds almost every day. Posts like “For every share this post gets, £5 will be donated to charity”, may seem too good to be true, and that’s because they are.

Social media scams like chain letters can be used for any number of reasons: as a joke, to build up lists of susceptible people, or even for scammers to get ‘friends’ to hassle later, but whatever the reason, it usually isn’t good.

Don’t share or repost these statuses, just let the last person know that they’re being conned.



Perhaps the most dangerous social media scam of all, phishing usually works like this: you get a message along the lines of “Wow! These videos of you are crazy! Have a look” followed by a link.

You then click on the link and are directed to a Facebook or Twitter log in page where you unsuspectingly enter your login details which the scammer now has a complete record of.

These scams work because the login page was in fact a fake page used to get your password and username.


To avoid this type of trick, be very wary of any links. You can hover over URLs to see where you’re being directed, and double-check the spelling of any messages and their sender, to make sure they’re from someone you actually know.


Fake news

Ronaldo is dead! Obama is a woman! Instagram will start charging for using their service next week!

There are literally hundreds of fake news stories popping up all over social media, and most of them rely on a ridiculous headline to pique your interest so that you’ll click on the article and be taken to a page full of pop-ups and unsavoury links. It’s a good rule of thumb not to click on any unbelievable news stories without reading the comments section first.

If something as big as the stories above really did happen, then you can be sure that every media outlet would be talking about it.


Cash requests

Not everyone is fooled by this one, but cash request scams are big business when it comes to social media. They work by sending a message to you from a friend’s account asking for money, you then feel sorry for them and send them the cash, only to find out later on that you were duped by a scammer.  These can be especially tricky, as requests can come from the malware-infected Facebook and Twitter accounts of your friends, so at first, they appear to be totally normal.

If you do receive any requests like this, just give your friend a call and speak to them in person before helping them out.


Where there are groups of people, there will always be groups of criminals looking to get something from them, and social media websites are no different from real life. It’s impossible to avoid every single little trick and con going, but with the knowledge of how these scammers work, you can be more cautious and do whatever you can to avoid getting caught out in the future.


Now I've given you our top tips for avoiding some of the most common social media scams, you can get on with making sure you're making the most of social media for your business.