Safe Families

Mar 10, 2014 12:45 PM

BBB alerting consumers of Pinterest scam

Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is alerting consumers to exercise caution regarding unusual activity on the social networking site Pinterest.

Recently, BBB has received reports of a scam where consumers receive emails from Pinterest that implies a friend has shared a "pin" (the term Pinterest uses for a digital scrapbook image) with the user. The email and link seem legitimate, prompting the user to click on it.

The image is different from what a friend typically pins, but it looks real. Common scam pins include celebrity and beauty photos, giveaway offers, before and after diet pics and even info-graphics. The images always have tantalizing captions that urge users to click.

But when the image is clicked, the user is not taken to an article or the real business's website. Instead, the user is directed to a site selling counterfeit products, featuring a bogus news story or promoting work from home opportunities, among others.

The sites may also put malware on the user's computers, opening up the consumer to identity theft.

Scammers use many techniques to gain access to accounts. They 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 "Pin This" buttons on other websites.

How Users Can Keep Pinterest Accounts Secure:

  • Report the pin: Spot a spam pin? Report it to Pinterest by clicking the flag icon at the bottom of the image.

  • Change your password. If you suspect someone hacked your account or you used a malicious app, be sure to reset your password. Do this by clicking your name at the top of Pinterest. Then, click Settings. Follow the prompts to create a new, complex, password.

  • Log out of your account. Don't stay logged into Pinterest when you aren't using it.

  • Watch where you log in. Only log in on Pinterest.com and the official mobile app. Avoid look alike sites that use a domain name such as www.pinterest.something.com. These are not affiliated with Pinterest.

  • Be careful about linking your account to other social media. If scammers get in, they can easily share spam pins on your Twitter and Facebook feeds too.

  • Check before you pin. Before you re-pin, take a second to hover on the image and check that destination link corresponds with the info on the pin. Scammers have been replacing the links in popular pins with links to websites housing malware.

Pinterest encourages users to report abusive posts by clicking the "Report Pin" button on the right of pinned content. It also recommends that users refrain from clicking on any promotional content (advertising is not allowed on Pinterest), avoid accounts with pins that do not link to relevant content, and use strong passwords and keep them close.

(BBB PRESS RELEASE. PHOTO COURTESY: PINTEREST)

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