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Spammers, fishers, scams, viruses, and their threats have become a dangerous daily reality for businesses of all sizes. To help keep you safe and sane we wanted to talk about the realities of these situations, how to recognize them, and how to deal with them.
Hello, Summerville, and hello to you, reader! Welcome back to Creative Consulting's blog. We hope we find you happy and well. Are you feeling stumped or stuck with where your company is going or with your overall business goals? We might be able to help with that! We specialize in branding and online exposure marketing through social media and SEO, we build websites, create content, and run all of your social media pages, and much more. Help the world know who you are and what your business is through the explosive power of social media. You can't afford to put it off any longer!
We have a very soft spot for social media, and we are very aware of the highs and lows that come along with it. It is an incredible business tool that is always growing and expanding. It helps you stay in touch with your customers, helps be aware of your target audience, helps you stay ahead of your competitors, and helps you share and show off what makes your company unique. However, with the good comes the bad. The internet is such a vast expanse that allows anyone the freedom to get behind their keyboards and share how they feel, oftentimes without a second thought to who or what company they could be damaged. Often time these attacks come without doing any proper research, too. The internet is so free and open, it also allows for some very scary, dangerous, and disastrous cybercrime to exist alongside us all.
Cybercrime doesn't just attack multi-billion-dollar businesses, it targets small mom and pop sized businesses too, and it can appear in many different forms across multiple different platforms. Emails have become a very powerful tool for hackers, and they have become more eloquent in their attacks. Sometimes it is very easy to spot a spam email with its awful design and terrible grammar and spelling mistakes. However, they are becoming more advanced, look more professional, and claiming to know more personal information than they ever have before. They're becoming more aggressive, nasty, and frightening as time goes on. A trend we've started to see is spammers and scammers showing up in your direct messages on Instagram and Facebook, in comments on your social media, commenting on your blogs, and even emailing you regarding the copyright of images and graphics being used on your social media platforms. Since this trend is becoming popular as time goes on, we wanted to explore and discuss the topic with our readers.
First off, if you've been through an issue with a scammer or spammer, please don't be embarrassed, it happens! As we mentioned above, these scams and attacks are becoming harder to distinguish as being fake or not. No one is immune to these attacks, they can appear in anyone's inboxes and in response to the content you choose to use on your social media platforms. Even Creative Consulting isn't immune to it! Below you will find two examples of spam that we've received, and these aren't the only ones we've received either. We get emails like this more often than you might think.
The first image on the left is of an email we received regarding an image on our website claiming that it didn't belong to us, but that it belonged to and was the work of the sender of the email. However, the graphics in question were designed by us in house, so it was something we were able to laugh off and knew was fake. However, pay attention to the tone of the email, if this was received by someone who didn't design their website or have a trusted source that did, it could be very scary. Also, note the links that have been embedded into the email offering proof that the images in question are the author's, and they have also included a link for "legal documents". The author invites and then demands the reader to click on them in a very believable manner. Both of these links are probably some kind of scam, virus, or a tool that could open up your computer and allow a scammer to have access to whatever they wish. As the message continues, the threat becomes even more heated, saying the images that are hers need to be removed, cursing is used, and more threats are delivered. While we knew this was a harmless threat for us, it's still uncomfortable to read, and could be very scary to someone else.
The second image on the right is a much different example. This comment, and many that we have received like it, have been sent in for approval to comment on a client's blog. Many social media management companies and blog writers will turn on the option that requires the approval of comments before they're seen by the rest of the world. While we have the power to stop a lot of spam messages, sometimes we don't. These messages range from very tame and kind messages to threats, similar to what you saw in the first image. While this comment might seem kind, we've received the exact same comment from multiple different "people", who are most likely bots. Also, note the circled name on the image noting where the email is coming from. Obviously, that is not an appropriate or real IP address of someone you want to be attached to your website or blog. Having spam comments like this, even ones that seem harmless can damage your reputation, your Google Standing, and credibility. So, how do you deal with this?
Also, not staying on top of these comments, no matter how many you're dealing with, shows a lack of moderation and care for your website and blog, according to Forbes.com. Who wants to believe or follow the audience of a blog or website where it looks like no one takes care of it? Also, the readers you've had might lose faith in your credibility. What happens if you've been a long time follower and reader and because you put faith into this blogger, you don't question the authenticity of a link in a comment. Then, to your horror, you click on it and you have a virus and your personal information begins to leak out. You would quickly lose faith in returning to that website or blog again, right?
Next, you can use certain settings to help moderate your spammers. One option is to moderate comments from first-time users, according to NeilPatel.com. This will place these authors in moderation if they change their names, email addresses, or use an email link. If your blog platform allows it, turn off trackbacks, or you can install some plugins that have been built and designed to control spam. You can also shift the conversation to social media. Invite any questionable commenters to email you or continue the discussion on your social media platforms. This will show your fellow readers that you're handling the situation, and if you get no response, it's another way to justify deleting these questionable comments. If you use WordPress, make sure the settings to minimize and control spam are on. You also can turn off the comments on your blogs. However, according to Forbes.com, this can be a big disservice to your blog and company. If you decide to turn comments off on your blog, you could be missing a huge marketing opportunity.
Don't be discouraged by spam or the time you might have to dedicate to managing it. It is a battle you can win and we hope these tools and suggestions help you feel prepared. Please check back for part two of this new blog series discussing spam on social media posts and found in your direct messages! Until next time, stay safe and caffeinated Summerville!