Scammers are increasingly targeting small business owners, and they're even using social media. Watch out for scam giveaways, contests, and surveys. Criminals sometimes offer "free gift cards" or "amazing discount coupons" under the guise of bringing business to a particular venue, or they offer some reward in exchange for completing a survey. These are sometimes scams used to either gain access to your social media account information--if, for example, you need to authorize a Facebook app to access your account to win the prize--or to collect personal information, both of which will ultimately be used for nefarious purposes.

One telltale sign of trouble is when a survey, contest, or giveaway is being advertised solely via social media posts, and does not appear on the website or social media account/page of the party associated with the reward. Scammers also often create accounts for nonexistent people to connect with real people and then exploit their contacts, or to use the information in the victims' private posts to trick their co-workers or friends. Make sure you know that the contact with whom you're connecting is legitimate.

Published on: Apr 1, 2017