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Better Business Bureau: Scammers have taken to using Pinterest

By By Tracy Bracy
April 7, 2014 at 4:03 p.m.
Updated April 6, 2014 at 11:07 p.m.


Just like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram before it, Pinterest is also becoming an outlet for scammers. Pinterest is a great way to find websites, tips and do-it-yourself ideas, but it has also become a place for scammers to attempt to get your information or cause you to download a virus.

Common scam pins include celebrity and beauty photos, giveaway offers, before-and-after diet pics and infographics. To keep your Pinterest account secure, the Better Business Bureau advises you to check before you pin. Take a second to hover on the image and check the destination link. Scammers replace links in popular pins with links to websites housing malware. If you suspect someone hacked your account or you used a malicious app, be sure to reset your password.

Scam Alert: Scammers take advantage of Malaysian Airlines flight mystery

Don't fall for teasers promoting exclusive footage of found passengers.

The world is eager for news about the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. So eager, in fact, that scammers are taking advantage of curiosity.

A fake video clip is at the center of this scam. As you scroll through your social media feed, you may see titles like "Video of Malaysia MH370 Plane Found in Bermuda Triangle Passengers alive" or "[NEWS FLASH] Missing Plane Has Been Found!"

If you click the link, you are taken to an unfamiliar, third-party website. A pop-up may appear, prompting you to "update your video player." But when you click "OK," you aren't getting a new software version; you are downloading malware.

Like all scams, this has many variations. Another common version asks you to take a survey before viewing the video. By filling in your personal information, it can open you up to identity theft or your information could be sold to spammers. This scam is also not limited to Facebook. Watch out for similar links posted on Twitter, through other social media or sent by email.

There are plenty of ways you can protect yourself from shared scam links. Most importantly, don't take the bait. Stay away from promotions of "exclusive," "shocking" or "sensational" footage.

If it sounds outlandish or really piques your curiosity with its image, it is probably a scam.

You can also hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click, pan the cursor over the link to see where it will take you. Don't click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.

Sometimes, you don't want to trust your friends' taste online. It might not actually be them "liking" or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked. But it may also be "clickjacking," a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking something that you wouldn't otherwise.

You can help prevent these viral links from spreading by reporting scam posts. On Facebook, report scam posts and other suspicious activity by viewing the instructions in their help section. On Twitter, if another user is sending you links to malware or other spam, report it.

Tracy Bracy is the regional director of the Better Business Bureau for Corpus Christi/Victoria. Contact her by email at info@corpuschristi.bbb.org.

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