Can You Tell Real Social Media Posts From “Click Bait” Scams? | Attorney General - State of Colorado

Can You Tell Real Social Media Posts From “Click Bait” Scams?

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As social media giants like Facebook and Twitter continue to attract more users, they also attract more scammers.  Scammers have started creating intriguing posts to bait consumers into clicking and subsequently falling victim to sharing personal information or downloading malware and viruses.  Once a user clicks the sensational or outlandish link a pop up asks them to “update your video player” or "scan" your computer for possible viruses. 

Most users assume they’re receiving a new version of their currently installed software but instead they’re downloading malware.   Other click bait posts lead to fraudulent websites that prompt users to take surveys before viewing the content they’re after.

Filling this information out could open users up to identity theft and most likely the information will be sold to spammers.

Tips For Avoiding “Click Bait” Scams:

  • Don’t Click! – Users should stay away from posts containing “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” content.  If it sounds too bizarre to be true, it’s probably click bait.
  • Hover & Hesitate! – Before clicking on the post, users should hover their cursor over the link to see where clicking will actually lead them.  Don’t click on links that lead to unfamiliar websites.
  • Be Aware of Hacker Hostages! – While users may share similar interests with their online friends, they shouldn’t trust their online content as it may not actually be their friends liking and sharing the posts.  Hackers may have taken over their accounts or they may be victim to clickjacking, a technique that scammers use to trick users into clicking something that they wouldn’t otherwise click.

If you have been victimized by a click-bait scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here.