Kingston Police detail top five scams seen on social media

Photo by Brett Jordan.

Kingston Police have issued a media release outlining the various ways cybercriminals take advantage of social media, specifically Facebook, which has over one billion users.

In the release, dated Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, police noted that cybercriminals try to trick users every day, and provided the following details on the top five scams:

‘Who Viewed Your Profile?’: This scam tricks you by telling you that you can see who has viewed your profile. To start this scam, cybercriminals may send you a message that appears to come from a friend or may create a malicious advertisement that appears in your newsfeed. If you click a button in the message or advertisement, the cybercriminals will have access to your account.

Fake inappropriate videos: In this type of scam, cybercriminals upload fake inappropriate videos of celebrities to gain your attention. These scams may appear as an advertisement or a post, and they may contain links to fake YouTube videos. If you click one of these links, you will see a message that claims your Adobe Flash Player is broken and that you need to update it. If you click the link, the cybercriminals will install dangerous malware on your device.

Viral videos: Viral videos are popular on several social media platforms. If you accidentally click a link for a fake viral video, you may see a message that asks you to update your video player. However, instead of updating your video player, a virus will be downloaded onto your device. To avoid clicking on fake video links, search Google for the video you would like to watch. If the search results don’t include a link to a YouTube video or a video from another legitimate website, the viral video may be a scam.

Fake profile scam: Cybercriminals can steal names and pictures from a person’s real social media profiles and send connection requests to the person’s friends. Then, the cybercriminals scam the person’s friends by faking an emergency. Don’t fall for this trick! Be careful when you accept connection requests from someone who you’re already friends with.

Romance scams: In romance scams, cybercriminals create a fake profile using a real person’s photos and stories. Then, the cybercriminals try to develop relationships with other social media users by sending the users posts, photos, and messages. Cybercriminals typically use romantic language, promise happiness, and eventually trick you into sharing personal information or money. To stay safe from these scams, don’t accept connection requests from people you don’t know in real life.

“Stop, look, and think. Don’t be fooled by the scammers,” Kingston Police stated.

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