This fake Best Buy account convinced some users, hoping to snag a free gift card, to click the shortened URL.
OMG, you guys, this is CrAzY! Mashable is giving away a FREE iPad Air to the first 3,000 people to share this article! All you have to do is share it via a social network and add a comment with your email address, phone number and first and last name in the section below!*
You'd be surprised how often that sort of obviously bogus, too-good-to-be-true scam works. While most people have programmed themselves to avoid the spam that hits their email inbox, social networking scams are becoming more and more common — and harder to spot. According to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, one in 10 users have fallen for a social media scam.
Instagram makes it surprisingly easy for scammers. The low barrier to entry means that users are more likely to like or share a picture, because what could it hurt? Well, even a like can give scammers access to personal information like your username, real name and even location.
Scroll through the gallery above to see the ones that have tripped up users in the past. Below are a few tips for avoiding a potential scam:
1. Does the profile name have "giveaway" or "_ig" in it? If so, it's probably not legitimate. Think about it — why would a company create a new profile just for promotions and have to build up a following all over again, when they already have a profile?
2. Check the pictures posted on the account. This seems like a no brainer, but have they been posting for an extended period of time? Are the pictures more than just offers for free stuff? Is there even more than one picture?
3. Are the rules and regulations for the contest clearly displayed? No brand would post a contest without covering the fine print first.
4. Are you asked to share personal information, like an email address, or worse, your password? No legitimate company would ask you to do this. Ever.
5. Does the contest require that you click on a shortened URL? Not cool. It's probably leading you to a less than trustworthy site that can put spyware or malware on your computer.
Now that you're armed with a little more cyber-scam knowledge, get out there and post your selfies with confidence.
*There is no contest and Mashable will be providing no such prizes. But you should share this article anyway.