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This episode is sponsored by Petra Kolb

Who is going to believe a con artist? Everyone, if she is good. Andy Griffith

In last week’s show, I looked at the concept of the digital detox and how you can use it to get yourself off of the dopamine kick and back on target with your goals.

Today though, the final show of the season, I feel I need to cover a topic that’s hit so many of my friends and colleagues on social media – Scammers are exploiting the messaging systems on Instagram and Facebook to steal user accounts through various deceptive tactics.

It was the heart of any scam or fiddle -- keep the punter uncertain, or, if he is certain, make him certain of the wrong thing. Terry Pratchett

In order to peak your awareness of this I’m going to lay out an explanation of their methods:

  1. Impersonation: Scammers can impersonate friends, family members, or well-known personalities through fake accounts or compromised accounts. They send messages that appear to be from someone familiar, often using urgency or emotional manipulation to convince users to provide personal information or click on malicious links.

  2. Phishing: Scammers may send messages posing as legitimate organizations or platforms, requesting sensitive information such as passwords or account verification codes. They create convincing messages that trick users into disclosing their credentials, which the scammers then use to take control of the account.

  3. Malware and malicious links: Scammers may send messages containing malicious links that, when clicked, install malware on the user's device. This malware can capture login credentials or other sensitive information, allowing scammers to gain unauthorized access to the account. Look out for QR scam codes in real life too. QR code scams involve the fraudulent use of square-shaped barcodes that can be scanned with smartphones. Stickers that will be posted over say parking meters legitimate QR codes that will lead to fake apps that will steal your data and lock you out. Scammers create misleading codes that lead users to malicious sites or prompt them to share sensitive information. These codes appear on physical objects or are shared online. Scammers aim to trick users into sharing personal data or falling for phishing attacks. To protect against QR code scams, be cautious, verify destinations, and ensure device security measures are up to date.

  4. Prize scams: Scammers may send messages claiming that the user has won a contest, lottery, or prize, requesting personal information or payment to claim the reward. These messages aim to deceive users into providing their account details or financial information, enabling scammers to steal the account or commit fraud.

  5. Fake customer support: Scammers may impersonate customer support representatives, sending messages claiming there is an issue with the user's account that requires immediate action. They provide links to fake login pages or request account information under the guise of resolving the problem. Users unknowingly disclose their account details to scammers, who then hijack the account.

To protect yourself from these scams, it is important to:

  • Be cautious of unsolicited messages, especially from unknown or suspicious accounts. You also need to be cautious of known accounts because of the number of accounts already hijacked.

  • Avoid clicking on links or providing personal information unless you are certain of the sender's authenticity.

  • Enable two-factor authentication for your accounts to add an extra layer of security.

  • Verify the legitimacy of any requests or offers by contacting the official customer support channels directly, using trusted contact information. If it’s a friend messaging you, then call or text them for verification.

  • Regularly review and update your privacy and security settings on social media platforms.

Only by staying vigilant and practicing good online hygiene, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to scammers who exploit the messaging systems on Instagram and Facebook.

Our ability to manufacture fraud now exceeds our ability to detect it. Al Pacino

Primarily though it is scam 1 that you must be aware of as that’s what’s rife right now. Scam account hijackers on Instagram are individuals or groups who illicitly gain control of legitimate user accounts for malicious purposes. They employ various tactics to achieve this, such as phishing, social engineering, or exploiting security vulnerabilities. Once they gain access to an account, they may change the username, profile picture, and associated email address to make it difficult for the original owner to regain control.

Scam account hijackers often engage in fraudulent activities, such as posting spam content, sending scam messages to the account's followers, or using the account to promote deceptive schemes. It is crucial to protect your Instagram account by using strong and unique passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, being cautious of suspicious links or messages, and regularly monitoring account activity. If your account is hijacked, report the issue to Instagram immediately for assistance in recovering your account. Just don’t hold your breath though as from what I’m hearing, that account, in effect, will be lost forever.

Account hijacking scammers can be persistent and constantly adapt their techniques, making it hard for any platform to completely eradicate such issues. Additionally, the sheer volume of users and the vast amount of content on Facebook make it a target for scammers, requiring ongoing efforts to combat fraudulent activities.

In the vast landscape of social media, where scams lurk amidst a sea of posts and profiles, navigating safely requires a clever eye and a vigilant mind. Remember, in the realm of scams, skepticism is your shield, curiosity is your compass, and caution is your cloak. Stay alert to the signs of deception, question the legitimacy of offers that seem too good to be true, and always prioritize your digital well-being. By arming yourself with knowledge, critical thinking, and a healthy dose of skepticism, you can forge a path through the social media realm, and avoid the pitfalls of scams.

The best, very best scammers will always ask for your advice. This is their favorite technique. It makes them vulnerable. It flatters your ego. James Altucher

This is the last show in season 11 and to be perfectly honest I’m not sure I will be recording new episodes past 150. If you really want to hear more, please let me know directly. It would make a tremendous difference to the shows standing on the platforms however if you would take a few minutes to leave a short review. Leaving a review on iTunes helps the show to rank properly on their charts. It’s important. Please help if you can.

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I’ll end today with a few words from FBI Director Louis J. Freeh who said The fraudster's greatest liability is the certainty that the fraud is too clever to be detected.

Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!

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Thanks: A Himitsu Music: Adventures by A Himitsu

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