Have you ever received a Twitter Direct Message, with a link, that is worded something like these: “Hey look at this funny pic I found of you. Here is the link!” or “You wouldn’t believe what they are saying about you! Go check it out! (link)”
When it’s the first time you receive one, you probably panicked a bit. “What picture could they be seeing of me?” “What are others saying about me?” “ OMG…I should see what it is!”
It is Spam. No, not the spiced ham product made by Hormel, but “electronic junk”, possibly quite damaging. If you click on the link your account could be hacked. The message would then get forwarded to people you follow, causing some of them alarm, also doing a knee-jerk reaction to the message, and possibly causing their account to be compromised, message forwarded again…and so on.
One of the biggest targets is new users. They probably panicked when they saw the message and without thinking about it *clicked* to see if someone was truly saying or posting bad things about them. People need to slow down and think before they hit any link on Social Media…especially when it is so off-beat like the messages noted here.
The scenario here is specific to Twitter, but Spam messages that can compromise your account can happen anywhere…Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, email, etc.
People need to:
- Stop, pause and think before clicking on a link
- If unsure, type the message into Google search and you will most likely get a lot of results back telling you it’s a spam/fraudulent message & ink.
- If it’s someone you know pretty well, ask yourself if the message is way out of character for the person who sent it to you. If it is, send that person an email or contact them through some other platform, letting them know you think their account has been compromised.
- If you already clicked on the link, immediately change your password for the account; run a scan on your computer as a precaution to make sure no virus was downloaded; delete any spam messages sent out by your account.
- Use a unique password for each site.
- If you have to use a public computer, never have the program save your password to that computer; triple check that you are signed out.
- If at any time you think you have been hacked…change your password ASAP. It is better to be safe!