Every single popular social media platform is being abused by scammers and cybercriminals and Pinterest is no exception. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has published an advisory to warn Internet users of the scams making the rounds on Pinterest.
According to the advisory, the scams start with an email that informs potential victims about a “pin” shared by one of their friends. The pins usually feature a celebrity, beauty photos, giveaways, infographics and diet pictures.
They’re always designed to trick users into clicking on the links they contain. These links can lead to a wide range of websites, but none of them contains anything good.
The websites advertised in such schemes can be online stores that sell counterfeit merchandise, or fake news websites that promote work opportunities, diets and pharmaceutical products.
“Scammers use many techniques to gain access to your account. They may take advantage of security holes in third party applications that connect to Pinterest (such as those that automatically post your pins on Twitter) or insert malicious code into the ‘Pin This’ buttons on other websites,” the BBB warns.
So what can you do to protect yourself against such schemes? First of all, in case you spot spam pins, report them to Pinterest by clicking the flag icon.
If you fear that your account might have been compromised, change its password from the Settings menu. Be sure to set a strong password, one containing both lower and uppercase letters, numbers and symbols. If you can’t remember complex passwords, use a password manager.
The BBB also advises users to log out of their Pinterest accounts when they’re not using it. This is particularly important if you’re utilizing shared computers.
When logging in to the service, make sure that you’re on the genuine websites, and not a domain that looks like pinterest.websitename.com. Phishers often rely on this trick to dupe users into thinking they’re on the legitimate site.
In case you’ve connected your social media accounts, if one of them gets compromised, the attackers can send out spam on all of them. Be careful when using such services.
Finally, before re-pinning on Pinterest, take a moment to make sure that you’re not contributing to a scam or a cybercriminal operation.