Pinterest scrapbook attracts gift card scams

If you’re big on the Internet, you may have heard of “Pinterest”, a new social network that encourages people to “pin” pictures to a virtual scrapbook that they can then share with other users. While the concept is certainly neat, con artists have taken to the network to make money the dodgy way.

Normally a haven for fashion, arts, crafts, and cooking, Pinterest is a place where one can find inspiration among the thousands of users posting pictures of things they’ve seen around the web.

But one type of article is making its way around the social network at an alarming speed, with scams now taking centre stage on Pinterest’s scrapbook network.

“Cybercriminals have long focused on social networks to trick users into disclosing their personal information or downloading malware,” said Symantec’s John McDonald. “Fraudsters can utilise this information to develop targeted attacks, posting malicious links that are designed to entice users into clicking through, based on their publicly disclosed interests.”

These types of scam work by offering the user something for nothing, such as a $50 or $100 gift voucher to a popular store. Facebook users were hit hard late last year as similar scams offered users free gift cards from JB HiFi and Westfield.

In these examples, users would click to like the campaign and automatically add the scam campaign to their wall, informing others of this scam while getting nothing in return.

“To avoid being targeted by cybercriminals, consumers should be wary of competitions or surveys offering prizes that seem too good to be true and should not re-pin such content,” said Mr. McDonald. “Additionally, they should remember that social media sites will not request credit card information, login information or other personal details over unsolicited pop ups or emails. Finally, consumers should use up to date antivirus products which will shield them from this type of scam.”

As always, it’s best to assume that if an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. No company has ever wanted to give you money for free without a catch, and here the catch is that the offer is all a lie.

When you pin a scam to your wall, you're only helping the scammer make money. Their scam will be sent around Pinterest for more people to click on.