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Beware of Verification Phishing Scams on Social Media

Almost anyone owns or uses at least one active social media account; hence, students and entrepreneurs alike could easily fall victim to Facebook Marketplace scams.

There’s no denying that social networking platforms benefit users in one way or another. For instance, these sites have become efficient means of communication. Some social media apps have even opened limitless opportunities to workers and entrepreneurs alike. Unfortunately, as the demand and popularity of these sites grow, the risks and dangers grow as well. Among such threats are the so-called verification scams. Let’s learn more about these.

 

The Importance of a Verified Badge

Creating accounts on social media sites is quick and easy. Unlike opening accounts on other platforms or establishments, official documentation or certain paperwork isn’t necessary. In fact, some social networking platforms enable users to create profiles just by using an active email address or phone number. Some even allow account linking or signing up via an existing profile on a different site.

Due to the alarming increase in identity theft and catfishing cases, however, most social media developers have started launching their exclusive verification processes. This is one of their ways to ensure the legitimacy and credibility of accounts or pages. Hence, guaranteeing safety and security to all other users.

Verified accounts would usually have a blue check mark or a unique badge just beside the user’s profile photo or the page’s name. This is for users to easily distinguish which accounts or official or which pages are legit.

Twitter started this trend process back in 2009. Now, almost all social media has its own way of identifying and marking genuine accounts, notable organizations, trustworthy businesses, and even public figures.

If you’re an influencer or an entrepreneur, getting a verification badge can significantly boost your brand credibility and establish confidence among your target audiences. And if you need to get verified, be sure to go through the official or legal process, and beware of verification scams.

 

Various Forms of Verification and Phishing Scams

Scammers know very well the importance of verification badges or icons. They are also aware that other sites tend to have extremely thorough processes that several account owners or managers get desperate to get verified. Hence, they find creative ways of using social media verification for their malicious schemes. 

In a nutshell, a verification scam is an attempt to lure users into voluntarily disclosing private or confidential information by making them believe they are going through the official verification process of certain social networking platforms. It’s a form of phishing wherein when scammers succeed, they could exploit data, steal identities, or gain access to more sensitive accounts.

Like in any other cyber-attack, verification scammers could get really creative so you have to be really extra careful when needing to have an account or a page verified. Here are some of the most common methods used by these cybercriminals.

  • Fill-Out Forms

They thoroughly copy the social media logos and colors to make the forms look like legit ones. They will establish a fake authority that they need all those details to proceed with the social account review. These forms would usually ask for personal details such as complete legal name, date of birth, SSN, or even banking details.

  • Unique Codes

At some point during the verification process, some sites would send a unique code either via SMS or email. Be careful about which code you’re receiving and which site or page you’re disclosing it into. Scammers could confuse you into believing you’re going through verification where, in fact, they’re already logging into your account using the said code.

  •  Security Questions

Some sites actually include security questions as part of their verification processes. However, be on the watch for excessive or intrusive questions. Mother’s maiden names, for instance, are usually used as security questions on bank accounts so mindlessly disclosing answers to such questions could grant hackers access to your accounts other than social media.

  • Verification Alternatives

Not all who apply get verified and since the blue badge has become an important identifier, some page owners become desperate. Cybercriminals then take advantage of such situations and offer their services for certain fees. Some who ask for payment would actually go through the trouble of helping the users out. Nevertheless, no users should spend money on getting verified.

 

Official Verification Processes

To steer you away from such scams, be sure to do your own research and learn more about the official processes of getting your social media account verified. Here are the step-by-step verification processes of the four most popular social media platforms.

  • Facebook

  1. Access the form by navigating to https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/295038365360854 
  2. Choose what type of account you’re trying to get verified then provide the URL.
  3. Confirm authenticity by uploading an accepted document such as DL or passport.
  4. Confirm notability by selecting the category of your account and the place you’re managing it from.
  5. Provide all other necessary details then submit.
  6. Wait for an official notification from Facebook which usually takes 48 hours to 45 days.
  • Instagram

  1. Log into your IG account and access your profile.
  2. Tap on the burger icon on the top right then go to Settings.
  3. Select Account then Request Verification.
  4. Enter all necessary details, provide all needed documents, and follow the on-screen instructions.
  5. Wait for an official notification from Instagram which usually takes 30 days.
  • Twitter

  1. Log into your Twitter account and access the Settings page.
  2. Tap on the Request Verification option.
  3. Select Start Now on the popup box.
  4. Enter all necessary details, provide all needed documents, and follow the on-screen instructions.
  5. Wait for an official notification from Instagram which usually takes a few days or up to a few months.
  • TikTok

Unlike other social media sites, TikTok users can’t apply for verification. Instead, there are certain qualifications they look into such as the content you share in the community and the frequency of your uploads. While there’s no step-by-step process, here are some tips to increase your chances of getting the blue badge.

  1. Select and focus on a specific niche.
  2. Keep producing valuable and relevant content.
  3. Go viral and try to get featured on other major media platforms.
  4. Link or connect to other verified social media accounts.
  5. Adhere to all set rules and regulations.

 

Conclusion

Social media verification has become an important milestone, especially for startups, sole proprietors, and influencers trying to build a name for themselves. Like any other legal and official process, be sure to stick by the book. Follow or provide what’s actually required and don’t take shortcuts. Above all, be thorough and mindful in disclosing your information.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does it mean when someone wants to send you a verification code?

Verification codes are one-time PINs usually used to verify the owner’s identity or confirm account access. These are unique timed codes used as part of a larger security measure.

  • How do you know if you are being targeted for Facebook scams?

Scammers are creative and innovative that you won’t know you’ve fallen victim to until it’s too late. There are, however, certain red flags you can look out for such as too good to be true offers, unsolicited messages, suspicious files from unverified sources, and demanding users.

  • Do you get a message from Instagram for verification?

Yes, Instagram issues official notifications regarding verification applications. The result should be posted on the Activity section of your account within 30 days from the application date.

  • What happens if you share a verification code?

Verification codes are usually the last line of security. Criminals looking for these could mean they were able to bypass other verification processes such as providing login credentials. If such important information falls into the wrong hands, not only your social media but all other sensitive accounts could get compromised.

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