“I had someone share a picture and they said click on this picture and it looked legitimate, like it was somebody trying to share something with me," said Bowers.
It wasn't long before she found out the friend who supposedly sent her the picture had been hacked, and it linked to a crippling virus.
Tim Stadler was a long time police cybercrime detective, and now specializes in cybersecurity. He hears stories from victims of social media scams all the time.
“They can be devastating to their personal life, as far as their identify being stolen to their home computer, to their work computer and their employer's work computers," said Stadler.
There are three major social media scenarios that can lead rip offs:
Stadler says over half of all tweets and texts are actually spam or malware virus type links. To protect yourself, Stadler says never click on a link unless you absolutely trust who sent it to you.
Instead of using the link, to see photos, for example, go directly to the original host site. If you're suspicious of a link, Google it which will usually tell you if it's a hoax. And you may want to cut some of your Facebook friends loose.
“If you have more than 80 friends, you've got people you don't even know as a friend. And those are the scammers, those are the spammers," said Stadler.
He urges everyone needs to be cautious and recommends a website called malwarecity.com . It is up to the minute on the latest cyber scams.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Hillsborough County Commissioners today took the next step toward regulating an industry investigators say is shot through with fraud. The move follows an ongoing I Team investigation.