Social Networking: Can it Become a Hoax?

Social networking has become a common way for businesses to build their brand as well as connect with customers and other businesses. The advantages of social networking are numerous, but does it also make businesses more susceptible to fraud? The fact is, anything that a business or individual posts on the Internet potentially gives fraudsters valuable insight.

This does not mean that everyone should immediately stop the use of social networking. That would be damaging to businesses, especially since this form of communication is so prominent in today’s society. In fact, 34% of medium businesses and 27% of small businesses are using social media to network. These percentages are growing rapidly.

In a recent study, 64% of marketers said social media has become more important to their marketing campaign in the last six months.[1] Social networking is slowly taking over the way businesses run their networking, marketing and advertising campaigns. It is, therefore, essential for businesses to guard their information and be selective about what is ultimately released to the public at large.

Safety Features

Many of the safety features can come across as common knowledge, but it is easy for them to be overlooked.

  • Use different passwords for every account.
  • Make sure your passwords are strong.
  • Don’t reveal too much on social media.
  • Avoid mixing up your personal and business emails.
  • Connect only with people that actually know friends or connections of yours. 

Distinguishing Scams

Although many people may be able to appropriately detect scams that appear in their email accounts, it may be more difficult for them to identify scams on social media networks. Remind employees to take caution, and not click on anything questionableThe following are questionable attacks that frequently appear on many different social media sites, particularly Facebook.

  1. Malicious Links – Clicking on a malicious link is the most common downfall. Links that appear to come from a “friend” on your wall, or links in inbox or chat messages are the most common culprits. They can lead to a phishing site, infect you with malware designed to take over your computer and steal your personal info, or take you to spam or other fraudulent sites.  Look at the web site address of the link by dragging your cursor over it—does it begin with https—a secure URL or does the address seem suspicious?
  2. Spam – You may come across Groups or Pages created by spammers claiming to offer a prize or some other enticement, if you invite all your friends first. Be alert!
  3. Fake messages – There are fake emails or status updates and messages appearing to come from the Facebook team, or other vendor, which try to get you to update your account, divulge passwords, open an infected attachment, or click on a malicious link. Don’t do it![2]

Company Protection 

To protect company information and image, it is essential  to create a social media policy for your company. It should include the following:

  • Determine what is and what is not acceptable as far as social networking during business hours and on company mobile devices.
  • Educate employees on safe networking practices.
  • Explain why the rules exist; for the protection of the employees, as well as the company

In 2012, 556 million people around the world fell prey to cybercrime. This is not meant to steer businesses away from social networking because it is a great way to stay connected; however, don’t allow your business to become part of the growing statistic. Be wise, stay safe, and protect your personal identity as well as your businesses identity.







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