The Planner's Perspective: Social Media Scams

Paul Morrone |

By Paul Morrone CFP®, CPA/PFS, MSA

The interconnectivity in today’s world has created a wealth of opportunities to connect, interact and form relationships with individuals and organizations around the world. Maintaining a physical connection or operating in a specific geographic location is less important to forming a meaningful bond and allows commerce to flourish in a globalized marketplace. Unfortunately, the hyperconnected economy has also created an avenue for criminals to prey on our overzealous desire to share personal information with the world. Many things you see online may seem harmless at first glance, and that is entirely by design. When you look at it through a different lens, you can see that there are many opportunities to obtain personal information from your social media outlets that you may have never thought was valuable. These 5 tips may make you think twice when you’re scrolling through your news feed:

  • Information available on social media is commonly used as security questions to access websites such as your banking or investment institution, email, etc. Social media is a hunting ground for those looking for personal information about you, such as:
    • Children or relative’s names;
    • Pet names;
    • Personal history (relationships, friends, teachers, co-workers);
    • Employer name and employment history;
    • Past addresses; and
    • Education history, to name a few
  • Do not respond to social media quizzes as these are often phishing exercises designed to get you to reveal information that is not readily available in what appears to be a harmless manner (i.e. your birthday or middle name)
  • Review your privacy settings and disallow sharing of some personal information with the public and limit access only to friends
  • When linking third party apps to social media accounts, ensure that they are from trusted sources and verified publishers
  • Do not engage with private messages from unknown sources that may be bots, scammers or a predator

Tracking # 1-761648