Online social media network sites have experienced an extraordinary growth in popularity over the last few years. The growth in social media use has captured the attention of not only enthusiastic users but also cyber criminals as well. It was inevitable that internet predators would gravitate towards social sites due to the sheer number of users these sites attract. This criminal element commonly targets innocent site participants with various types' of scams looking for money, personal ID information or to even install spyware or malware.

Here are 3 of the most common scams people using social media sites need to be aware of to better protect themselves against these internet predators.

Shortening (Hiding) Links

Shortening links is an acceptable, expected and encouraged practice on most social sites to 'dress up' rather long links being sent in short messages. This is well and good however shortened links also actually 'hide' the ultimate destination to where you are being redirected. By inadvertently landing on a 'forbidden' site you could easily have unwanted malware installed on your computer. Treat these links like you would suspicious email and only open those that come from a source with which you are already familiar.

'Fun' Questionnaires

How many times have you come across short quizzes sent to you that will tell you things about yourself, friends, or even love life? All you need to do is to 'register' by leaving your contact information including your cell phone number in order to receive your answers and even a prize. Well many times the 'prize' is really a 'surprise' when you have a billing for a subscription you had unknowingly signed up for on your phone. The best approach with these questionnaires is to simply ignore them!

Personal ID Theft

Information 'trawling' or phishing has been around for a while online. Most of us are use to seeing it come through in suspicious emails that require sensitive information in order to complete a transaction. Well those damn cyber criminals have now taken their methods and adapted them to online social media sites. Ever seen a message that says 'someone is looking for you' and then instructs you to click on a link to see who it may be? When the link takes you to one of the login pages of a popular social network you are then required to sign in, DO NOT! By doing so you may be giving a stranger complete access to your account and no telling what they will do with that!

Online social media network sites have grown in popularity and as a result have also become the targets for cyber criminals as well. With the tremendous increase in social media use the online criminal element has spotted an opportunity to target large masses fairly easily. They tend to favor the use of scams which work quite efficiently for them when dealing with large masses of people. 3 of the most commonly used scams to which people using social media sites are exposed are mentioned above. The danger such schemes like these pose to the innocent is magnified when people are unaware of their existence until it is too late. In this case however to be fore-warned is to be fore-armed! It is therefore hoped that this 'heads-up' will help neutralize any efforts and all intentions of this rather creepy online element.

Author's Bio: 

TJ Philpott is an author and Internet entrepreneur based out of North Carolina.
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