Social media is a great way to connect with new and interesting people outside of your social circle. Unfortunately, not everyone on the internet is worth trusting. Predators, scammers, and trolls love to use social media platforms just as much as you and your friends. It’s important to be vigilant of certain tactics scammers love to use in order to take advantage of unsuspecting users.
Here are some tips to help you avoid these untrustworthy trolls while scrolling online:
Never give out personal financial information
Whether it’s in a Facebook group or on a dating app, you should never be giving out money to anyone without doing some background research first. It’s true that social media has helped enable people-in-need to get direct support through fundraisers and kickstarters. But sadly, there are also plenty of hackers who love to take advantage of others’ generosity. These predators use social media sites to take advantage of women who are lonely for attention and looking for someone to talk to. On dating apps, if a man asks you for money, stop talking to him. On Twitter and Facebook, if a strange user starts asking you for donations without providing any legitimate cause, block them. If someone slides into your DM’s out of the blue and asks you to Venmo them to help them out, don’t respond. No one should be asking you for money or favors online, especially without any hard evidence.
Watch out for thirsty creeps
Attraction at first sight? Sure. True love at first sight? Hard to say. Hooked after just one glimpse at your profile picture? Maybe too good to be true. No one falls in love based on a picture, a profile, or a brief message, as much as we’d all like to hope. In reality, relationships take time to build. Anyone who starts excessively commenting, texting, e-mailing, or phone calling to tell you: “You’re so beautiful! I fell in love with you the minute I saw your pic. I just know we’re meant to be! We need to get together right away!” is worth staying away from, especially if you don’t even know them. Don’t be fooled by this flattery–– there’s a good chance it’s not as genuine as it might seem.
Set good boundaries
This type of user gets angry or annoyed if you don’t respond to their advances immediately. Whether they’re pressuring you to meet right away or angrily texting you because you didn’t respond to their text within 2 minutes, it’s worth noting that this type of communication is toxic and a huge red flag. Especially if it’s a stranger you met online, no one should be pressuring you or making you feel bad for not immediately responding to their private messages. In some cases, this type of online behavior can be indicative of a needy, controlling, or jealous person. Remember that it’s not rude to set healthy boundaries, whether it’s in-person or online!
Stay away from ghosts
Maybe their photos are blurry or dark. Maybe they’re always wearing sunglasses and a hat. Or maybe they don’t have any photos of themselves at all. Whichever the case, this mysterious user is not worth getting to know. Bots, scammers, and creeps usually are the last ones to be open about their identity. If you can’t clearly identify them in any of their photos, it’s worth being suspicious of how genuine their online presence really is. One good way to check the authenticity of someone’s profile is by cross-checking with other social media platforms. If you can’t find them anywhere else, there’s a good chance they might not exist offscreen.
Stay clear overactive narcissist
On the other hand, users that post too many photos of themselves are also red flags. Just like their ghostly-counterparts, these users are usually trying to mask their true self by creating a different online persona for themselves. Posting and reposting the same photos of themselves, is usually not a good sign that there’s a real person on the other end of the screen; bots will usually steal photos from other users’ profiles or Google as a way to make their profiles seem real, when they really aren’t.