Most everyone is vulnerable to a social media scam of one type of another, and this includes home inspection businesses.
In a way, businesses can be more susceptible than individuals, because it is the nature of a business to receive many unsolicited messages from strangers. After all, communicating with strangers is how you build your business.
While your home inspection business is not likely to fall victim to a Nigerian prince who needs money, you or an employee might click on what appears to be a harmless email or link and find out it’s anything but.
What can you do to help avoid damage from social media scams?
1. Never give out personal information, even if you think you know the person or business. It might not be who you think it is.
The Kent State University website lists some common Facebook scams to watch out for, including enabling a button to dislike posts. Another typical scam you may encounter on Facebook is what looks like an official notice from the site that your account has been canceled, or a request that you “confirm” your username and password.
Regardless of the source, never divulge your username and password to anyone, and if you have employees, make sure they know this too.
It can be upsetting to receive a notice that your account has been locked or disabled, and the tense emotions you feel reading such a message could cause you to inadvertently behave recklessly in an effort to quickly resolve the problem.
If you accidentally fall victim to a scam like this, change your password as soon as possible to limit the damage.
2. Don’t haphazardly click on any link on your page just because it looks interesting.
Sometimes clicking on a scam link brings disaster, like a computer virus that shuts down your system. Equally disturbing but sometimes unbeknownst to you is when your click results in a scammer installing spyware onto your computer. Sometimes the only way you find out you have spyware on your computer is when you’re alerted that someone is trying to withdraw money from your bank account.
Less disastrous but still dangerous is being redirected to a site that asks for personal information, such as credit card or banking information. Some of these phishing scams can be very convincing, appearing genuine and even displaying the logo of your bank or credit card company.
3. Don’t believe strangers who say they want to give you something or that you’ve won something — especially if you haven’t entered any contests!
The Federal Trade Commission warns businesses to be wary of messages telling them they have won a business grant. Some of these messages can appear to come from friends or business associates, and this may inspire your trust, but know they aren’t real. If you haven’t applied for a grant, you’re not getting one.
Beware of any offers you get that seem too good to be true — even small ones, like free gift cards.
It’s important to have a social media presence if you have a home inspection business. You need a website, a Facebook page, and probably an Instagram and Twitter too. But proceed with caution with these types of communication vehicles. Sometimes what you don’t know can hurt you.
To learn more about the home inspector business or home inspector training, check out our website today!