Have you ever been tempted to click on a link offering free Starbucks, a free movie or concert tickets? Have you ever seen an ad that said your favorite artist is dead? Unfortunately identity theft is a threat we all face every day online, so your job is to defend yourself from the many scams created to steal your good name.
Are you the curious type?
The reality is that we are a curious breed by nature so when it comes to protecting your identity, the first rule you need to adopt is to refuse to believe that free offers or ads are real. You need to take on the mindset that “free offers” will most likely to lead to identity theft and are online scams designed by cyber criminals hoping you are dumb enough to believe their lies.
What is a survey scam?
Survey scams are malicious links designed to infect your computer, obtain your information and steal your identity. Survey scams can come in the form of an email, a Facebook wall post promising free Starbucks, or could be a pop-up window that appeared out of nowhere. According to Trend Micro, survey scams are notorious for asking for personal identifying information in exchange for a free gift.
What can happen if you visit a survey scam page?
- If you entered your information, such as your name and your email address, you are now on the scammers spam list and will most likely receive a lot more spam.
- If you like the link and decide to share it, then the malicious post will automatically infect your contacts.
- You may be redirected to ad tracking sites which tell cybercriminals where you visit, which gives them more power to steal your identity and fraud.
- You might be redirected to pages containing malicious URLs and according to Trend Micro, the Facebook app page could be a threat as well.
Trend Micro suggests you can protect your identity by:
- Being careful what you share with friends
- Asking yourself if liking or sharing the post is worth it.
- Trying to find the story or headline on a more reliable source; such as a news website, before you click on it.
Protecting your identity is something that takes awareness and practice. Many who come across stories about online predators take notice and act to protect themselves; but the fact is, you need to treat cyber criminals the same, because they are the ones who pose a far greater threat on a much larger scale.
We are vulnerable to identity theft
All of us who use social media such as Facebook or Twitter are vulnerable to the many different scams and predators looking to harm us; so please take protecting your identity seriously. Identity theft is a continuing online threat that we all need to continually educate ourselves about.
If you are a resident of Santa Ana and you feel that your identity has been compromised or stolen, contact the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-647-5400. If you have experienced online identity theft or any other sort of internet fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov/crimeschemes.aspx
Fraud is essentially a silent crime that can affect us at any time; so thank you so much for your visit today. If you have a personal experience with fraud, identity theft or internet scams, please feel free to leave a comment.
Threat encyclopedia (2012). Survey scams aimed at social networking netizens. Trend
Micro website. Retrieved from the Trend Micro website.