New wave of social scams target Pinterest users, McAfee warns
Pinterest users should be on the lookout for a new wave of scams that can compromise their personal information. With an estimated 13 million users, Pinterest is a social network that allows users to collect images online and use a bookmark tool to publish them on virtual pin boards that they can then share with other users. Recently, Pinterest pages have become popular with companies as a marketing platform allowing them offer coupons for discounted or free products. Cyber scammers have begun to emulate and exploit these promotions, which in many cases is similar to successful scams on other social networking sites.
Free giveaway offer – users can click on a pinned image with a well-known brand logo with a message that offers free merchandise and/or gift cards. Users are then led to outside websites to claim the cards or items. These sites request users to first re-pin the image, thus propagating the scam, and then click on a link leading them to a survey scam site. In addition to urging consumers to complete a survey, these types of sites often ask users to sign up for superfluous subscription services, submit personal information, or even install dangerous malware.
Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim:
- Stay away from offers that appears too good to be true, and avoid re-pinning them so they aren’t propagated further.
- Regularly review your pin board and remove any pins that might be suspicious.
- Buy consumer security software from a reputable, well known vendor, such as McAfee, and make sure the suite includes anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam, anti-phishing, a two-way firewall, and a website safety advisor to stay protected against newly discovered malware and spam.
- Take advantage of free software like McAfee SiteAdvisor to avoid potentially risky sites and find safer alternatives. With SiteAdvisor software, small site rating icons appear next to your search results in order to provide guidance on safe or threatening Web sites are safe, as well as a browser button and optional search box. Together, these alert you to potentially risky sites and help you find safer alternatives.
- Before clicking on any promotion or survey link, check to see that the address is going to a well-established site. If it is a shortened URL, use a URL preview tool such as http://longurl.org/, to make sure it is safe to click on.
Tips on What to Do if You Become a Victim:
- To see if your computer has sustained an infection, you can run a free scan using McAfee Security Scan Plus: http://us.mcafee.com/root/mfs/default.asp?cid= 9913
- If you suspect your Pinterest or another social media account has been compromised, change your password immediately and delete all dangerous messages and links. Also, let your friends know that your account could be sending them spam in your name.
- Contact the Cybercrime Response Unit at www.mcafee.com/cru, an online help center for advice and technical assistance, if you think you’ve been a victim of a cybercrime.