Don't get scammed on social media. Five tips for you, Parents and Beginning Marketers

Informative article

6/19/20233 min read

person holding black samsung android smartphone
person holding black samsung android smartphone

Parents of teens and newbie marketers---this one is for you!

Avoiding scams on Instagram and TikTok requires a combination of caution, awareness, and smart online practices.

My first week launching an online business I was bombarded with scammers. I was asked to "collab" and be "an ambassador" and model sunglasses, I even had a self-proclaimed former powerball winner reach out to me, wanting to help. Immediately, scammers tried selling me followers. It was frightening! But I see the appeal... and it makes me worried. I have experience checking credibility of sites, and I have the age and wisdom to know better.

Here are five tips to help you stay safe:

1.) Verify user authenticity: Check for verification badges (blue ticks) on Instagram and TikTok. These badges indicate that an account is authentic and belong to well-known individuals, brands, or organizations.

2.) Research before engaging. Be skeptical! Before engaging with a new account, perform a quick background check. Google online reviews. Search for their name or handle to see if any reports of scams or fraudulent activities have been linked to them. Scammers use enticing promises to lure unsuspecting customers.

3.) Hover over suspicious links: Be cautious of suspicious links shared on Instagram or TikTok, especially those sent by unknown accounts. Hover over the link to see the destination URL before clicking, avoid clicking on links that seem suspicious or unrelated to the content. By hovering, you can see the hidden URL and verify legitimacy.

4.) Green Padlock no longer guarantees security. Check for website security: If directed to a website from Instagram or TikTok, ensure that the site is secure. Look for inconsistencies in a site's URL and webpage. One options is to type the URL into a new browser or try to locate the site typing in the title or key words into a search engine. It is best NOT to visit sites embedded in an email if you do not trust the source.

5.) Protect your personal information: Avoid sharing personal information such as your address, phone number, or financial details with strangers or unverified accounts. Legitimate businesses will not ask for such information through social media platforms. Additionally, avoid money requests or wire transfers, especially if it is a prerequisite for participating in a contest of opportunity. Legitimate transactions can be done through secure payment platforms.

And finally, report suspicious accounts and scams: If you come across a suspicious account or believe you've encountered a scam, report it to the platform immediately. Both Instagram and TikTok have reporting features to help protect their users. While these tips can help reduce the risk of falling victim to scams, staying cautious and aware is crucial.

If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your instincts and proceed with caution.