Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Don't Get Pricked By Pinterest Spammers

Pinterest is one of the latest darlings of social media.  Yet with its invite-only policy and open sharing pages, there has been a “we’re all friends here” mentality on Pinterest that apparently is too ripe for scammers to miss.  The site has been plagued with scams from free gift cards to huge discounts on your next Starbucks latte.  
Last month in its official blog, Pinterest acknowledged the scam problem and committed to improving its anti-spam technology.   It added a “Report Pin” button and reminded users that Pinterest doesn’t do any surveys, giveaways or other promotions and not to click on pins that promote such things. 
Even with Pinterest on the case, spammers are finding ways to monetize and hack the typical user experience.  Here are three of the latest Pinterest scams to watch out for!

The scams start even before you enter the Pinterest site.  Multiple fake apps have shown up on Google Play claiming to be the official Pinterest mobile app.  But wait!  As of now, there is no Android Pinterest App, only a mobile app for iPhone. So don’t be tricked!  These impostor apps display ads on the mobile device and some can gain access to your browser history, bookmarks or even your location.  
Of course there is a scam that has to do with the Bieb.  Recently, a pinned image of Justin Beiber - coming out of the ocean sans swim trunks - encouraged users to click through to a Facebook page to see even more images.  Once users clicked, however, they found themselves in a maze of survey sites to complete before they were able to see the “additional pictures”.  The scam is one of the first to use dual social media platforms.
These posts claim to offer a wonder diet and are usually posted under pictures of thin models, motivational sayings or scrumptious looking food.  One reads, “Summer is about to come and I finally took off these last 27 pounds!  If you’re interested too, [clickable link here].”  After clicking on that link, hopeful users are redirected to a fake news page promoting the alleged diet products. While these sites typically don’t harm your computer, some users are convinced to pay for these fake drugs which they never receive or input their private details to the fake site.  This type of scam is so prevalent that Pinterest is now blocking these posts.  The spamming profiles, however, have yet to be shut down, so the problem has yet to be solved. 

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