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Social media has quickly found a place in our daily lives, be it through Facebook, Linkedin or Twitter. These tools provide far-reaching networking opportunities not only for us, but for fraudsters and scammers as well. If access to your account is compromised, it can be used to send out unlimited spam messages, viruses and to promote costly money schemes. Keep theese tips in mind next time you’re ‘Tweeting’:

  • Be wary of general, impersonal direct messages. Is someone telling you to check out their website, a funny link, or to take a quiz? Common phishing/spam messages say something like: "OMG, is this you?" or "I think you're on here"?
  • Most accounts are compromised as a result of phishing – fake login pages that trick you into giving up your account information. Be wary of any link that takes you to a page asking for your account name/password. Does the URL look right, or were you already logged into Twitter? When in doubt, close the page and open the Twitter home page in a new window and log in there.
  • Don't use the same login/password for every website. If your login and password are the same for Twitter and your online bank, having your Twitter account compromised can lead to much bigger problems.
  • When in doubt, take it off Twitter. If you aren't sure if a DM (Direct Message) is real, ask the sender to contact you via email or phone, which gives you a better opportunity to evaluate the situation.
  • Be careful who you follow. It's tempting to follow everyone in sight, but the better you know the person you're following, the more likely you are to identify a DM that's out of character or unusual.

If you do fall victim to phishing and your account is used fraudulently, change your password immediately and Tweet a warning to your followers.