If you’re on Twitter, it’s inevitable that you will receive a direct message (or five or six) saying something like: “Have you seen yourself in this video?” or “Look at this picture of you!” or similar, along with a link. Because the direct message (DM) comes from someone you know, you trust the link. After clicking on it, you see a screen that appears to be from Twitter, asking for your login credentials.
Those experienced with Twitter know to never click on these links. Newbies, however, will usually fall for this scam. I see it several times a week, as the DMs appear in my Twitter stream. Soon after these rogue DMs pop up, friends will warn the Twitter newcomers to change their passwords.
“I’ve been hacked!” the victims cry. Technically they haven’t been hacked. In fact, they’ve co-authored this sad story by being phished.
Phishing is the act of attempting to grab usernames, passwords or credit card information by pretending to be someone you trust.
Here’s a great tutorial on how to avoid phishing scams on Twitter as well as elsewhere on the Web. Scammers are likely to send messages that purport to be from PayPal or FedEx or even your bank. Always check the URL of the suspect link, and never share your passwords.
Happy, safe tweeting to you!