U.S. government offers a tool to verify official social media accounts
Sure, it may be odd that Representative Lloyd Doggett needs your Social Security number and bank account information to deliver your Social Security payment on time, but politicians in Texas like to be extra hands on. Or maybe that guy you friended on Facebook isn’t really Lloyd Doggett.
While regular readers of Watch Your Buck may be too savvy to fall for social media scams using names of government officials, the U.S. government wants to make it easier for consumers to verify the legitimacy of social media accounts. A new tool available on USA.gov checks whether or not a social media account actually belongs to federal agencies, elected officials, heads of agencies or members of the President’s Cabinet.
And for those social media profiles you can’t verify online, BBB recommends you be wary and take the following advice:
- Be wary of unknown “friends.” If approached with an investment opportunity or request for your personal information on a social media site, be cautious and ask questions. Don’t make any quick decisions or rush to judgment just because you are “friends” with or follow someone on a social media site.
- Avoid clicking on unsolicited links. Social media profiles are no different than email inboxes and should be treated just the same. Be extremely wary of unsolicited messages from friends or strangers that direct you to another website via a hyperlink.
- Manage your passwords carefully. Rotate passwords every few months, and do not use the same few passwords for multiple accounts. Keep the passwords in a safe place in your home, not on your laptop or phone.
- Protect your personal information. Check your privacy settings so you can control who can see your profile and exercise good judgment when posting personal information.