Watch out for online rip-offs

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SOCIAL media fans are being warned to guard against rogue users who prey on ‘relationships’ to rip people off.

PhonepayPlus, the UK regulator of premium rate telephone services, has seen a sharp rise in the promotion of expensive services – such as online gaming – via social networks. Customers face new risks from misleading digital marketing including:

Typosquatting: registering common misspellings of well-known internet names such as ‘Dacebook’ – with the aim of misleading consumers into accepting digital purchases they believe to be associated with the brand they were searching for.

Clickjacking: using graphics coding on a website to disguise a link that takes the user to a website that offers premium rate services.

Likejacking: manipulating social media sites so that consumers believe a link or other advertising has been endorsed by a friend or contact.

PhonepayPlus has seen cases where the trust that is an inherent part of social networking and online forums is traded on for money.