Stick to reliable local news source for a weather forecast | #socialmedia


Marjorie Stephens writes the “Consumer Advocate”

Winter is coming quickly and that means snowstorms are right around the corner as well. This time of year brings rumors and false weather predictions scaring people into thinking that the “next big” snowfall is coming.

With social media, it’s common for clickbait links to be shared. These links are made to grab a consumer’s attention and spark curiosity. The headlines likely say something shocking, making the reader want to click the link to get more information. However, the link may lead to a less-than-credible website — or worse, a scam.

Don’t trust long-range weather forecasts unless they’re from a reliable source like your local news outlets, because those long-range predictions are often unreliable and made specifically to catch attention and get clicks or likes on social media. These forecasts are predictions and usually not based on real data. Some of these links may be harmless, some of them may contain viruses that can damage your computer or contain malware to hack the device being used.

Other clickbait links can lead to phishing scams that attempt to steal sensitive personal information such as credit card or bank account numbers. Instead of risking it, go to a reliable local news website to see what the weather forecast is.

Use Better Business Bureau’s tips to avoid clickbait scams:

• Don’t take the bait. Stay away from promotions of “exclusive,” “shocking” or “sensational” footage. If it sounds too outlandish to be true, it is probably a scam.

• Hover over a link to see its true destination. Before you click any link, hover your mouse over the link to see where it will take you. Don’t click on links leading to unfamiliar websites.

• Don’t trust your “friends” online. It might not actually be your friends who are “liking” or sharing scam links to photos. Their account may have been hacked, and scammers could be using another tactic called “clickjacking.” Clickjacking is a technique that scammers use to trick you into clicking on social media links that you would not usually click on.

• Check for spelling errors. Look for spelling errors in the headline, the original social media post or the actual website the link wants to take you to. Spelling or grammar errors can be a sign that the information is unreliable.

• Don’t click the link. If something doesn’t look right but you’re curious about the information in the headline, go to a reliable website such as a local news page, to find out what they’ve reported.

• Remember, scammers are always up to no good. And they are always looking for the next big steal.

For more tips from BBB, visit BBB.org. And if you spot a scam, whether you’ve lost money or not, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker at BBB.org/ScamTracker and the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. Your story can help other consumers avoid similar scams.

Marjorie Stephens is president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Northern Indiana. Contact the BBB at 800-552-4631 or visit www.bbb.org.

This article originally appeared on South Bend Tribune: Be on the lookout for snow forecast clickbait



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