It’s good to be wary of any email or direct message you receive from Twitter that invites you to click on a link. Even if appears to come from a trusted friend there’s a chance that they’ve had their account hacked.
One Mac Dodgy message I came across recently had a particularly intriguing headline (specifically designed to make your jaw drop and your finger click) it goes something like this:
“I can’t believe this but there are some real nasty things being said about you here”
As tempting as it is to see exactly what’s on the other end of the link, don’t click!
This is a clever phishing scam designed to swipe your personal details.
Normally when these sorts of scams are reported to Twitter (by savvy surfers) the following message will pop up on your web browser to stop you going any further…
But not always.
These kinds of scams are constantly being renewed and revamped and you might not receive a warning, which is why they’re so dangerous.
So how does it work and what’s waiting for you on the other side?
Click on the link and you’ll be sent to what looks like a Twitter page. In fact it looks EXACTLY like a Twitter page, except that you’re asked to log in. This is the sting. As soon as you enter your details in they’re logged by the scammer and they have instant access to your personal information. They can then try and use this to infiltrate your friends’ accounts and send spam messages across your social networks and from your personal email. They may even be able to use this information to hack into your other online accounts.
How to avoid these Twitter scams
1. Ignore messages from complete strangers (or unusual messages from friends) – If you get a message from a person or username that you don’t recognise, DELETE it. If they’re trying to get you to click on a link there’s a strong chance they’re operating a phishing scam. Occasionally real users accounts (friends and family) are hacked. Most of us wouldn’t think twice about clicking on a link from a friend but always check the language in the message – does it sound like them? Is it overly enthusiastic and/or are their strange spelling errors or unusual language quirks. If so get in touch with them by phone or email to check that it’s really them. You never know, you could be alerting them that they’re account’s been hacked.
2. Check someone’s tweets before following them – Following lots of different accounts can be useful strategy if you’ve got a business Twitter account and want to gain more exposure (through reciprocal follows) but it’s best to check a users Tweets before following them. By inadvertently follow a scam Twitter account their dastardly messages are more likely to come through to you directly.
3. Always log in to your Twitter account via www.twitter.com. That way you’ll know you’re logging in directly to the site – and not via one of these pesky fake pages designed to steal your details. These fake pages can be VERY convincing so it’s best not to log into your account via a link you’ve seen on an email, another website or any other resource.
If you want to find out more, Twitter have a useful page which gives you tips on how to keep your account safe. You can see it here: