An important message
posted April, 2022
You may have seen numerous notifications about scams on ad sites recently, but in case you haven't, here are some tips that will help you stay safe.
There is a new scam targeting clients and customers, which starts with the scammers taking over the advertising accounts of established providers.
This happens when a provider or their assistant accidentally clicks a malicious link in a disguised phishing email, and the scammers then have access to this provider's advertising accounts. From here, they post ads using lots of emojis, provocative language, industry acronyms - and they tend to promise taboo activities. They change the phone number and sometimes the email address on the ads, but they'll leave the photos, social media and website as they are, so it looks more legitimate.
First rule of avoiding these scams: If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Second rule: When contacting a provider, only make your first contact to them through their website form. These are the hardest for scammers to intercept; most providers use an outside hosting service that scammers won't have access to, and scammers won't be able to update it with their fake contact info.
Third rule: Once you receive an email back, copy and paste the email address into a google search. Make sure the email address you're communicating with only pops up in relation to the provider you're trying to meet. If you find that Julie is using an email address listed for Suzy, then something is probably amiss. Do the same thing for any phone numbers you're texting with. If there aren't any search results for the phone number, or you see it used on numerous profiles, block them and move on. Do not give them any personal information, or any deposits.
Fourth rule: Be smart about how you send your screening info, and what you send. Contact providers only through their website form, and verify the contact info they're using is their official contact info listed in multiple places.
Fifth rule: Check their social media - make sure they don't have any notes up about their account getting hacked, etc.
It's worth an ounce of prevention to make sure that you aren't falling victim to a deposit scam, or worse, blackmailed for your personal information. The vast majority of providers you contact are going to be conscious of discretionary issues and will take steps to ensure the safety of your personal infomation, but scammers are NOT providers - so for everyone's sake, please take a few moments and ensure that the person you're speaking with is actually the provider you're trying to meet (or in some cases, her assistant). OpSec is a community responsibility - let's keep each other as safe as possible.