Treat or Trick? Scammers find Pinterest

A friendly heads up: Make sure there isn’t a rotten apple in your bag of virtual treats on Pinterest. While the social media site has generated a growing community of pinners the world over, it hasn’t been able to escape the nemeses of every social network: spam and scams.

It was inevitable, but it’s still a bummer.

Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with Pinterest by now. Even the POTUS and the presidential contender have Pinterest accounts. (We have a few Pinterest boards of our own as well).

Unfortunately, there’s a plethora of social media spam being generated through Pinterest. As the new kid on the social media block, Pinterest is in that awkward phase where it’s popular enough to attract spammers, but it’s not mature enough to have appropriate security measures erected. Since it’s a picture-based digital bulletin board where users simply clink and pin images from all across the Internet, it’s easier to fall victim to spam on Pinterest than on the text-based networks like Facebook and Twitter.

According to McAfee Blog Central, Pinterest scams exist in the form of fake posts that look just like regular posts. And because more than 80% of all pins are repins, (according to RJMetrics) spam images can spread at an alarming rate.

Once users pin a fake post, they are taken to scam sites which phish for personal information like names, email addresses and phone numbers which are used for spamming.

Be prepared: There are a host of different Pinterest spam and scam activities to avoid. Mashable has some great tips on how to spot scams and avoid them. (Naturally, we pinned it to one of our boards.) Some common-sense advice:

  • Don’t pin or repin something until you are sure it is legit
  • Don’t enter your personal info on any site or page if you are unsure of its intentions
  • Ask friends and family to go easy on sharing special offers and amazing deals
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it could be a scam
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