The past three weeks, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in hacked, fake and cloned accounts posting links in our social media comments sections. The links usually have a poorly designed Tukwila PD shirt or other merchandise with some catchy line to get you to click the link. The links contain malware meant to acquire whatever personal and or financial information it can get from your electronic device and cloud-based accounts. These links have been popping up at multiple police departments, government agencies, media sites and other highly trafficked public social media pages in our region.
We have immediately removed these links and as a practice, we remove any and all links posted in the comments section for that very reason. Once you’ve clicked and opened the link, it can already be too late. The best way to protect yourself and your information is to never click on any links in any comment section of any social media pages especially those posted by anyone you don’t know. The links are oftentimes disguised a clickbait video or article and designed to appear to have some form of relation to the page they are being posted on to try to lend legitimacy to them.
The same goes for any private messages you receive from hacked or cloned friends accounts that seem off such “OMG someone from our high school class died!” or other similar titles meant to play on your emotions and get you to click them.
If you receive a friend request from someone already on your friends list, do not accept it. Contact that friend directly via text or a phone call and ask if they are aware that there is another account open in their name with their photo(s) on it.
Bottom line…don’t open any links from anyone you don’t know in comment sections or private messages and don’t open any links from any friends you do know that seem off or suspicious. Clicking a link with the hopes of buying some hot product, reading some juicy gossip or a sensationalized story meant to get your attention isn’t worth spending countless hours chasing down fraudulent financial accounts opened in your name, having to constantly monitor your credit report and potentially having to wipe out your device thus losing all your files and memories to start over.