Kiwis are being urged to think twice before clicking on a
Facebook friend's new video, as fraudsters increasingly
target victims over social media.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has issued advice on online
scams as part of Fraud Awareness Week. It says there has been
a rise in scams on social media such as Facebook, with many
succeeding after people trust updates from online friends.
This year Kiwis have reported losing close to $3 million to
an array of scams.
Sean Lyons, NetSafe's chief technology officer, said social
media scammers worked on the assumption people were more
trusting of content delivered through a friend's profile.
"The art of the scammer [is] about convincing people of the
validity of what's being offered. What they are now doing is
using what feels like, to the target, a more genuine
A wide array target Facebook users, including the
increasingly common problem of "clickjacking". This is a
technique to trick users into clicking on links or buttons
that are hidden from view -- a security weakness in web
browsers can allow pages to be layered and hidden.
As a result, people can think they are clicking on the play
button on a video posted by a friend, but they are really
clicking on a hidden link.
They are then often redirected to other pages which ask for
personal information, sometimes in the form of a
"competition". The scam can expose victims to malicious
software and use their profile to spread the scam.
According to NetSafe, Facebook users should beware of suspect
or "goofy"posts from anyone. If a video looks like something
someone would not normally post, people should not click on
it. A suspicious post could be a sign their Facebook account
has been hijacked.
Another way to minimise risk is to stay current on browser
Another threat is versions of phishing scams, where criminals
steal personal information or trick people into giving it. On
Facebook, phishers can use status postings and Facebook
messages from friends' accounts (which they have hacked).
They also send messages or emails pretending to be a popular
app like Farmville or Mafia Wars.
Consumer Affairs urges people to report scams to
Social media scams
• Ministry of Consumer Affairs says such scams are on the
• Many work off the likelihood people are more trusting of
content delivered through a friend's profile.
• If a video looks like something someone would not normally
post, people should not click on it, advises NetSafe.
• This year Kiwis have reported losses of close to $3 million
in all types of scams.
- Nicholas Jones of the New Zealand Herald