In a disturbing trend, scammers are leveraging the names of high-profile individuals like Jeff Bezos and exploiting the trust associated with reputable news outlets such as CNN to deceive unsuspecting users.
A fake CNN website has emerged, complete with a fabricated article claiming that billionaires like Jeff Bezos are generously giving away Amazon Coins – a currency that, in reality, doesn’t exist.
The elaborate scam begins with enticing YouTube ads, luring users with promises of exclusive Amazon Coin giveaways. Once users click on these ads, they are redirected to a counterfeit CNN webpage, designed to resemble the legitimate news site.
The fake article, adorned with CNN’s logo and layout, suggests that Jeff Bezos is distributing Amazon Coins to lucky participants.
The scammers employ sophisticated tactics to make the fake article appear legitimate, even including fabricated quotes and references to create a false sense of authenticity. As users read the article, they are gradually drawn into the scam, manipulated into believing they are on a trusted platform.
To participate in the supposed giveaway, victims are prompted to follow a series of steps, ultimately leading them to send Bitcoin to a specific wallet address.
The scammers claim this step is necessary to verify the user’s eligibility for the Amazon Coin giveaway. However, once the Bitcoin is sent, users quickly discover that there was never a genuine giveaway, and they are left without any Amazon tokens.
We are urging users to exercise caution and skepticism when encountering online promotions, especially those promising extravagant giveaways. Legitimate companies and individuals typically do not require users to send cryptocurrency to participate in giveaways, and any such requests should be treated with suspicion.
These are known as social media scams because they originate and operate on social media platforms, where numerous users are active.
Scammers often involve tactics such as coercing users into clicking on malicious links leading to phishing pages, coercing them into sending money, hacking their accounts, and occasionally spreading false information.
In addition to that, they commonly create enticing or alarming messages and posts on social media, posing as reputable figures or brands. Their most common intention is to manipulate users into clicking on links or being swayed by their messages.
Avoid falling for social media scams, as they typically have two aims: requesting money or sensitive information. These scammers exploit these details for personal gain.
Recovering money lost to these scams is challenging because online scammers often conceal their identity. Moreover, falling victim to these scams can lead to identity theft, where your sensitive information is stolen.
This can result in your exposure and scammers using your identity for their benefit, like securing loans under your name that they never intend to repay.
Tips to ensure your safety against social media scams
Experiencing these scams can have both financial and emotional repercussions. That’s why it’s wiser to prioritize caution and learn how to differentiate social media scams from genuine posts.
The “fake CNN website” scam is just one example among numerous others. New online scams arise daily, with more expected in the future, underscoring the importance of being vigilant and ready.
Always be skeptical
When in doubt, always pause for a moment to think. This is especially crucial when dealing with online scams, as some can appear quite convincing.
You might believe you’re entering a genuine giveaway or communicating with a legitimate brand, but it’s vital to assess whether you genuinely participated in such events or if your account’s security is compromised.
Important Tip: Question everything if uncertainty arises.
Many instances of receiving social media posts or private messages will likely involve scams. Dedicating a few seconds to ponder will help you to shield yourself from these online scammers and safeguard you from potential identity theft and money loss.
Identifying online scams is easier than you might think. They often display clear red flags that stand out, and with a little thought, you can quickly recognize them as scams.
These signs could range from obvious grammar mistakes in the content to other more noticeable inconsistencies. By staying vigilant and taking a moment to evaluate, you can protect yourself from falling victim to these fraudulent schemes.
Check the sources
When using the internet, it’s crucial to verify the legitimacy of sources. Whether it’s online content or any information we come across, confirming the sources is essential for accuracy.
When encountering doubtful news or unbelievable claims, it’s vital to fact-check. Trusted news outlets and recent updates can help confirm authenticity.
Social media often circulates fake stories that turn out to be false. These stories persist due to individuals sharing without discernment.
Protection goes beyond false news; social media scams are also prevalent. If you’re contacted about winning a prize or facing account termination, be cautious.
Verify the sender’s identity or the account’s legitimacy before taking action. Scammers often create fake profiles resembling real businesses.
What these scammers do is they might alter usernames slightly to seem genuine at a glance, but closer inspection reveals the deception.
Avoid clicking the links within the post/message
Taking a moment to think before clicking on links is crucial. Don’t underestimate this simple step—it can shield you from potential harm, as we’ve highlighted earlier.
Your instincts are one of your main allies on the internet, and people who got scammed, often knew it was fishy yet they ignored their gut feeling. If something feels off in a social media post or private message, pay attention to some noticeable red flags.
Clicking on suspicious links can have dire consequences. Phishing websites can load, and sometimes, malware can sneak onto your device unnoticed.
A seemingly harmless click can lead to breached personal data, financial setbacks, or even hackers gaining control of your device.
Don’t click on links you are uncertain of, especially if they’re from sources that exhibit urgency or rushed decision-making. Trust your instincts, and protect yourself online.
Pay no mind to hoaxes and chain messages
Have you ever come across posts or messages from someone that just seem out of place or strangely unbelievable? There are two main reasons they share or forward such content:
1. Shock Factor: The content might be something shocking, like a piece of fake news about the death of a famous person, designed to grab attention and evoke emotions.
2. Giveaways: Alternatively, it could be presented as a giveaway or contest, where the person is asked to share the message with a certain number of friends to participate.
When you receive such messages on social media from friends or contacts, it’s wise to disregard them. More often than not, they are hoaxes or scams, and sometimes both.
These messages are known as chain messages. Many people who are unsuspecting fall for these traps by sharing or forwarding them to others.
What many don’t realize is that the content of these messages can be altered once enough people have shared them. They can be turned into social media scams that can potentially deceive a lot of individuals.
Once the altered content gains enough traction, the scam becomes visible to a wider audience through the shares made by friends. So, always be cautious and critical when encountering such content on social media.
When it’s too good to be true, it usually is
Be cautious of social media posts or private messages offering quick profits and guaranteed rewards in a short time, or promises of winning giveaways and valuable items.
If a post claims it can double your money rapidly, it’s likely a scheme aiming to double the scammers’ funds, not yours. Similarly, offers to win expensive items often benefit the scammers, not you – they’re attempting to deceive you into giving them money.
Scammers often present highly appealing deals, like huge discounts on usually expensive items. For instance, a social media post about a product at nearly 90% off its original price is probably a scam.
Another common tactic is unexpected windfalls, such as finding a million dollars in your bank account or winning prizes without entering any contests.
Moreover, beware of claims that your account is hacked and will be terminated. If you can still log in without issues, it’s likely a false alarm.
A quick online search can confirm the legitimacy of such claims. Keep in mind, you’re not the only target – scammers send these scams to many people.
Never share your sensitive information
Have you ever wondered why companies always highlight the message “We never ask for your password”? This is because reputable businesses and banks never need to ask for your sensitive information again after you’ve already gone through the application and sign-up process.
They want to let you know about possible scammers who might use their identity to trick you. These scammers pretend to be them, aiming to deceive you into sharing your personal or login information.
Only scammers pretend to be these trustworthy entities and seek such details. Genuine companies won’t request this information since they have no use for it. On the other hand, scammers aim to trick you into sharing your money, using such tactics.
Scammers frequently target social media platforms. They might send you private messages from fake accounts that resemble legitimate companies.
Claiming to be the support team, they’ll mention issues with your account and ask you to click on a link. These links take you to phishing sites. If you enter personal data on these fake sites, your account becomes vulnerable to hacking.
Remember, these scams consistently lead to requests for personal and financial information, even if the topic seems unrelated.
Their main objective is to get your money or private data, which they can misuse for identity theft, fake loans, and other harmful activities that exploit your identity.
Helpful tip: If a social media post or private message constantly asks for something, don’t interact with it.
In some cases, they might even try to extort money from you by pretending to know private details about you—information they gained from their phishing attempts.
No matter what, when someone demands something in exchange for something else, it’s often a sign of a scam.
Enable two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) provides an additional layer of security for your online accounts.
It works like this: Imagine going to a bar. First, a doorman checks your ID and lets you inside. Then, another staff member inside asks you a question only you would know before allowing you access to the rest of the bar.
In a similar way, 2FA ensures that even if someone somehow learns your login information, they still can’t get into your account without completing an extra verification step. This helps keep your account safe from unauthorized access.
To use 2FA, the platform usually sends a special code to your phone. You enter this code after your regular password. Some platforms even let you use your face or fingerprint for an added layer of security.
Two-factor authentication is important for all types of accounts, whether they hold personal information or not. Your account represents you, and it’s essential to keep it private. Only you, as the true owner, should be able to access it when you log in.
But 2FA isn’t only for new devices. It’s also used when you need to confirm actions on your account, like changing your password or making important changes.
To set up 2FA, go to the Settings section on the platform or website you’re using and follow the instructions. This small step can make a big difference in keeping your accounts secure.
Report the scam to prevent others from falling victim
You’ve made a smart move by avoiding the “fake CNN website” social media scam. Your actions matter, and now it’s crucial to take the next step – reporting the scam.
Remember, not everyone might be as fortunate as you were. The next person could easily fall victim to this trap, facing financial losses and a lengthy recovery process. But you can make a difference by reporting the scam.
What you need to know: Your report could spare others from the same fate. Reporting might seem small, but its impact is huge.
When you report the scam, you’re helping authorities in their pursuit of the individuals responsible for these deceptive social media schemes.
For these social media scams, report the suspicious account to the platform where the scam was posted. This step could lead to blocking the account and potentially tracing the owner.
Furthermore, we’ve compiled a list of resources to report online scams. These include organizations from various countries dedicated to combating these fraudulent activities.
To ensure your report is effective, provide authorities with comprehensive details about the scam you encountered. Share all the information you have with the appropriate authorities and allow them to take action.
Staying safe from social media scams is just the start. Since almost everyone uses these platforms, you might come across new scams every now and then.
It’s crucial to avoid interacting with them, spot warning signs early, and report them promptly. When everyone takes these precautions, we can work together to decrease online scams. We wish you a safe and protected online experience.