*First National Community Bank’s blog does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, investment or other professional advice. Recipients should consult their professional advisors for advice.

If you are like most people these days, chances are you spend a lot of time on social media. Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn connect us both personally and professionally with friends, family and business associates. However, passing the hours on social media can also expose you to potential social media scams.

It's not surprising that criminals have focused their attention on social media platforms to gather personal information and gain one’s trust with ill intentions, such as fraud, which results in billions of dollars of losses annually. That’s why it’s important to know how to recognize social media scams and take the necessary steps to avoid falling prey to them. First National Community Bank has outlined the four most common social media scams that you should be aware of:

Social Media Scam #1:  Games

What sometimes seems like harmless fun displayed on our friend’s social media pages, such as “Check Your IQ” or “What Is Your Spirit Animal?,” games like these may ask for information like your age, birth date, phone number, zip code, pet’s name, etc. With this information, criminals can create a fake social media profile under your name and commit identity theft. It is important to never enter your phone number or personal information on social media. While some games may be harmless, many others may be gathering information for malicious purposes.

Social Media Scam #2:  “Congratulations, You Won”

The attraction of winning a prize is very appealing and a scammer can create fake advertising that appears to be legitimate and personalized for you. Prize scams are designed to lure you to click a link to claim a prize. Once you click on the link you are notified that in order to claim your fictional prize, you must enter your personal information to verify your eligibility. By clicking on links to view or redeem your prize, you may be unwittingly downloading malware, which is software that is specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. This malicious software that can continue to collect more personal information and track your logins and other internet activity. The rule of thumb is to resist the temptation of whatever prize a scammer may try to dazzle you with and remember that if it looks too good to be true, it most likely is!

Social Media Scam #3:  Learn/See/Find Out Who Is Looking At Your Profile

Its always tempting to know who is visiting your social media pages and viewing your posts and photos. This scam typically requires you to complete a survey to download “software” that will allow you to see who has been viewing your profile. You may even be asked to complete a “registration form” in order to complete the transaction – which also asks for a credit card! To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, do not complete any forms or purchase anything through the social media links. Instead, make sure the product offer, company and their website are legitimate by checking them outside of social media and also make sure there are no scam complaints associated with the company or product.

Social Media Scam #4:  Your Account Is Being Cancelled

With social media being such an important part of our daily lives and a vital link to our friends and family, the thought of having one’s account cancelled may cause a social media panic if they receive an account cancellation message, which is exactly what scammers want. Criminals are sneaky and their messages may look like they are legitimate and being sent directly from your social media platform’s administrator. This is why it is very important that you don't simply trust any message that claims to be from the social media administrator. Instead, contact the administrator outside of the social media session to make sure the message is legitimate.

Being alert and aware of potential social media scams is the best way to protect yourself and your family and friends on social media. As your locally owned community bank of choice, the success of your financial future is top of mind. We offer Personal Checking Accounts, Money Market, Personal Savings Accounts, CDs, IRAs, Business Loans, Mortgages and Personal Loans of all shapes and sizes and much more! To learn more about First National Community Bank’s financial solutions, contact us here.