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Detecting Social Spam

Dec 15, 2022

As the digital world evolves, so does the spam that comes with it. Spammers have added social media as another way to lure in victims, making it even more important to stay diligent with our digital communications.

When it comes to social media, most platforms offer two different types of accounts – business and personal. For business accounts, a lot more information needs to be provided to legitimatize its presence. As a result, spammers create personal accounts that pose as a businesses, typically copying the logo as the profile image and even going as far as copying posts so that when you visit the account, it looks like the actual business.

How can you know what is real and what is spam? Your notifications can be a great place to start.

Business pages do not send friend requests. If you receive a friend request from a so-called business, it’s spam and should be declined. If you have your doubts, visit the page that sent the request. Does it have all the common business information provided such as a website link, contact information and about section? If not, then that’s a good indicator that the account is not legitimate. By looking at the finer details of the page, you can make a clear decision of its authenticity.

Another indicator is grammar and punctuation. Just like in emails, spammers tend to misuse proper punctuation and grammar. If you see blatant mistakes in the messages you are receiving, it’s most likely spam. Businesses take time to craft the messaging they send out and do their best to eliminate any spelling or punctuation mistakes. Also pay attention to the links. Businesses that send links will typically include the business name in the URL. Research links that seem suspicious before clicking. Others may have reported the link and have information on how it’s spam.

Businesses will also avoid requesting any personal information through social platforms such as phone numbers, addresses and especially credit card numbers. If an account is asking you to provide a credit card number via a messaging platform, do not send it. This is an extremely unsecure way of processing payments and makes you vulnerable to credit card theft. Spammers will also use these profiles to grab your emails and passwords to take over your email or social accounts. Whenever you are asked to provide personal information of any kind over social, think about why they would be asking for it or if there is a more secure way to provide that information.

If you are ever doubting the communication you are receiving from a business, don’t hesitate to reach out to them. Use the appropriate contact information to speak with a representative of the business to confirm if the information is correct or spam. If the conclusion is that the account is spam, report it to the social platform to have the account removed.

Spammers are getting more creative in finding ways to gain our personal information, but by keeping a closer eye on the communications we receive through email, text, phone and even social media we can outsmart them.