It’s no surprise that businesses have moved into the social media sphere to connect with their customers and to try to reach out to new ones. Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms offer a fantastic meeting place for consumers to learn more about a business’ services, specials, and general information.
Social media can also be a place where consumers get duped by people running scams or click-baiting through fake accounts, though. Here are some helpful tips for consumers who are interested in safely connecting with businesses online:
- Make sure you’re visiting the right accounts. If a company has active social media accounts, chances are good that those accounts are linked to their website. Use those links to ensure that you’re getting to real accounts that will offer truthful information.
- If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You’ve probably seen those Facebook or Instagram pictures around that claim that if you share a specific post, you’ll receive a gift card for a large sum of money. Look out! These posts often come from fake accounts that have been built to look like a major brand’s account. Check back to the company’s website to ensure that you’re on their real account.
- Don’t offer up unnecessary information. If a business is asking you to share your credit card number, social security number, or other private information on a public page, be wary! If you were in fact to win a prize on social media, the business will insist that you communicate via private message or phone, and they will not ask for sensitive information.
- Look out for sensationalized videos. Oftentimes, scammers will post videos on social media as “click-bait.” These videos tend to have exaggerated headlines and often claim to have a new angle on a current event. Make sure the videos you click on come from a verified source and that you’re not asked to provide any information in order to view the video.
- It’s OK to enter verified contests, but read through the rules. Businesses run real contests on their social media accounts every day, and entering can be a fun way to interact with a brand. Make sure you glance over the rules, though. In many cases, entering a contest with your mailing address or email address means that a company will be able to send you promotional materials. If you’re not interested in that, then you may not want to enter the contest.