One of the most popular apps of the decade is Snapchat -- a growing multimedia messaging company that allows users to create and share unique content with friends. Founded in 2011, Snapchat now has more than 229 million users, mostly appealing to teens and young adults. Users can take photos and videos using fun filters, stickers, and much more.
In addition to fun photos and videos, Snapchat is also a popular messaging app. Users can directly message friends or family that they are connected to. While this is a convenient choice, there are reports of scammers using this messaging feature to scam people out of money.
Whether you actively use Snapchat or your kids are on the app, here are some things to look out for so that you can have peace of mind while staying in touch with friends.
What is the Snapchat Scam?
Users are reporting that scammers are actually hacking into Snapchat accounts and posing as that user. This could happen through a multitude of ways, but the most common would be data breach and where user information, such as login information, is leaked,.
Once a scammer gains access to a user's Snapchat account, they start targeting anyone on their friends list. The scammer pretends to be the owner of the account and messages people asking for help. The scammers will sometimes make up an elaborate story about needing money, such as their car was broken into or their dog was recently injured and they need money for medical bills. The goal is for users to send money to the person who has hacked the account, and then never to be heard from again.
Another ploy used by scammers is to pretend they need technical help with their app and request help by users. The goal is to get the user to hand over login information for their own snapchat account, as a way to help the “friend” understand how the app works. However, once the scammer gets into your account, they will download saved photos and try to use them as blackmail to get money.
Because young people are using Snapchat to message friends on this app, the thought that their account might be hacked does not even cross their minds. They are focused on helping their trusted friend. Additionally, many users have Snapcash set up on their account, which allows users to easily send money from their Snapchat account. So, while it may seem “off” for those unfamiliar with the app to ever send money this way, Snapchat does make it incredibly easy to send and receive money and scammers are counting on that false sense of security.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Scammers?
There are a few ways you can protect yourself or your kids from these scams:
Get in Contact With Your Friend
If you or your child receives a strange message from a friend asking for money or asking for tech help, make sure to get in contact with that friend on a different messaging app. This is to confirm that your friend is still in control over their Snapchat account and is it not being used by a scammer.
Be Picky About Friend Requests
Another way to protect yourself is to make sure you never accept friend requests from people you do not know personally. Many people will accept friend requests from anyone, however, by limiting who you accept requests from, this will help make sure your finances and your this appears to be an incomplete thought…
Never Share Your Snapchat Login Information
While this is a common warning, many teens and young adults may not know the dangers of sharing their login information with friends, especially over the internet. Make sure you or your child never release login information to anyone, no matter how desperate they may appear.
Practice Password Security
Passwords are at the crux of information security, and making sure your kids are aware of the importance of passwords safety will protect their information so that it never ends up in the hands of a scammer.
Tips for password safety include:
- Avoiding common words or phrases
- Do not use personal information in the password
- Make sure the password is 10-12 characters long
- Utilize a password manager
- Set up two factor authentications
These are easy ways you and your kids can protect information, while still using the apps that they love. To learn more about password safety, click here!We know that navigating social media platforms can feel overwhelming, but when it comes to your family’s information security, it is always worth the time to take extra precautions. Here at Blackhawk Bank, your peace of mind is one of our highest priorities. Want to learn more about how Blackhawk Bank can help you? Contact us today!