What if you had the power to save your friends from losing hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars? What if you could prevent potentially dangerous malware from being downloaded onto the phones and PCs of the people you know. What if you could prevent a case of identity theft?

You can and it could be as simple as typing a comment on Facebook or sending a quick private message to a friend.

Say you see a post like this in your Facebook feed.

southwest-fraud

Because we’ve talked so much about how to spot scams, you know this is a big old fake.

You already know that “coupons” like this that sound way too good to be true are always fakes. It doesn’t matter who it says is giving the huge discount.

kroger-scam

You also know that if you go to the sites these links direct you to, you’re in danger of downloading malware that can wreck your PC and steal your information. Messages declaring you a winner of these fake contests will direct you to dangerous sites.

You aren’t going to fall for it. You aren’t going to share it. But are you going to warn others? Because you should.  You could either comment on the post to warn friends, share a screenshot of it with a warning, or send a private message to the friend that posted it warning that it’s a scam.

The thing about social media is that it moves exponentially. If five friends of the person who posted it share it, and then five friends of each of those friends share…well, pretty soon tens of thousands of folks are potential scam victims.

Like Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show” used to say, “It’s time to nip it in the bud.”

Call these scammers out. Warn your friends. When they say, “It can’t hurt,” you let them know that it can. Explain how sharing your information with crooks can get you in trouble. Explain how clicking on those links can load your PC or phone up with Malware. Be the contest and coupon killjoy.

Even if your friends don’t thank you, they should.

Do you alert people to potential scams or do you just leave it alone? Let us know in the comments.

~ Cynthia