I just received a direct message (DM) via Twitter: “Did you see this pic of you? lol.” followed by a bit.ly link. I received it in my email box, since my Twitter account is set up to send direct messages to my email. What is Bitly? Bitly is a web service that allows you to shorten long links for insertion in tweets or emails (among other things). Since I know the sender of this tweet, and she is a friend and colleague, I’ll admit I pondered it a second before deciding it was spam and the link could be some kind of malware. One tipoff was the “lol.” She’s not a “lol” in email kind of gal (although in person she’s a riot). I Googled the exact wording of the tweet by putting it in quotes and saw that the first hit was a scam alert. My next step (after deleting the email without clicking the link) was to email my friend at her regular email address and alert her that her account may have been hacked or spoofed.
We are all getting way too many messages of this ilk every day. And the spammers are getting more and more clever about how they entice us into their trap. To get an idea of just how clever, visit the AvoidAClaim blog and look at the recent posts and confirmed fraud list. AvoidAClaim is specifically for lawyers. I also found a good blog post that gives more examples and details about Twitter direct message spam and scams. As they used to say on that old tv show: “Let’s be careful out there.”