Twitter Scams: How to Avoid Them
Who said it was easy to be on Twitter? In order to keep from falling victim to the growing number of scams brewing on Twitter it takes work. My question has always been..Is it worth it? Unfortunately, after you take the time to get real with Twitter by cleaning out the deadwood followers (people who do not respond or socialize), screen who it is you are following (to get rid of the unresponsive and trolls), forget about being as popular as Charlie Sheen (gathering up as many followers as you can) then you can start using Twitter with tremendous success. However, after you clean house and get real, you will still need to work at keeping your Twitter feed clean by screening followers out, and find out who the person is before you Follow them.
Why All This Work?
There is a huge reason for all this work…keep from being Scammed. As Twitter attempts to hold on to its popularity as a top rated micro-blogging platform, the Scams on the site just keep breeding out of control. Once you have gotten you house in order on Twitter here are a few of the identifiers of Twitter Scams.
Here is where the works begins. Checking an unfamiliar user’s stream of tweets is a hassle but important. Check to see if their messages are carbon copies of one another, or close to being the same? Do they contain similar links?
If so, the best thing to do is to leave these users alone, or block them if they’re being too persistent. One of the hallmarks of a good social media contact, especially on Twitter, is making sure they come across as a real human being. That’s why having a clean profile is important. This makes most scammers easy to identify.
2. Beware when someone you don’t know or trust @replies your username or DMs you a shortened link.
Most web browsers will display the destination URL in the lower-left corner. If you simply hover over the link with your mouse, without clicking it, you should see the destination. If the URL does not match up with the description of the link you are more than likely about to head into a Scam.
Most of the time, sneaky scammers will attempt to appeal to vanity or insecurity of people by saying there’s a funny or outrageous photo or video of you that “you have to check this out!”. However, if you don’t know the person, or a friend of yours got their account hacked and one of their tweets doesn’t follow their style of tweeting and you see a shortened hyperlink (via tinyurl or another service), don’t click it.
Links to everywhere on the internet propagate Twitter since over 88% of Twitter users are ‘Link Only’ Tweeters (people whose only existence on Twitter is to post a commend and then a Shortened Link). The shear volume of these Link Only posts makes this type of Tweeting to appear normal. These unidentifiable links could be a widespread scam that takes you to a page which has a virus waiting to install itself on your computer. And yes,,the viruses in these links work on MAC’s also.
3. Stay away from unfamiliar or new applications asking you to provide your Twitter username and password.
Third-party applications that mesh seamlessly with Twitter, so you can tweet your activity with these apps automatically, are growing. Unfortunately the scammers are too. It really pays to be picky on which apps you let in. Make sure the app is from a source you know and trust. If an application or website asks for your username and password beware you maybe about to hit one of the many potholes in the information highway. The support team at Twitter warns that if the app or website you’re considering is promising lots of new followers or quick easy cash, it could be a scam that takes control of your Twitter Account – so be very wary! Again…more work to be on Twitter, but Check these apps out. Do your due diligence and thoroughly research applications before using them.
4. Look out for the stranger using a popular hashtag out of context to promote a link.
Hashtags are words with the pound symbol (#) before it. Hastags are searchable and trackable terms created by people who want to call attention to trends on Twitter. Hastags rang from the latest celebrity news to political uprisings, hashtags can be used to transmit vital, real-time information. Unfortunately, they can also be used by crafty scammers who want their tweet or unfamiliar link to get more exposure by piggybacking on the popular hashtag of the moment. So just like the rest of the scams, you may get scammed if you click a bad link, or if you try using a popular hashtag to promote your own Tweets. Most Hashtags are followed by scammers waiting to harvest new usernames to send their scam links. You could be seen by others as a scammer so use the Hastags wisely.
Still A Place You Have to Be
Twitter is a great place to go and chat with friends, make an announcement to a product promotion and keep in touch with what is going on in the world. It is very unfortunate all the work you have to do to stay on Twitter. All this work and time wasted is the number one reason so many Real People are leaving Twitter. This also is why the price of hiring someone to manage a business’ Twitter account keeps going up.
BUT…Twitter is the game being played today in the promotion and marketing industry and if your business is not on Twitter in some shape or form it is another strike against the business’ visibility online. So if you take these precautions it should make your time spent on Twitter more valuable and profitable. Happy Tweeting and let me know how I can help.