More than 80 per cent of respondents in Bahrain to a survey highlighting the victims of online scammers revealed that they, or their loved ones, had suffered from criminals via social media.

In most cases fraudsters pretended to be familiar with their potential targets in a manipulation scheme presented as a request for help from a friend (71pc), according to the investigation carried out by global cybersecurity and digital privacy company, Kaspersky.

“Social media channels are highly integrated in our daily life and scammers just cannot miss the opportunity to reach users directly through all the popular platforms,” said Maher Yamout, senior security researcher at Kaspersky.

“The fraudsters may find your personal data in your social media account and use it, for example with social engineering methods. In this case, we shouldn’t forget about basic security rules. For example, it’s better to hide private data and double-check that the person you are communicating with is genuine if he urgently asks you to transfer money or open a suspicious link.”

The size of the survey was not revealed but the company said 83pc of users in Bahrain encountered online scammers in the last year.

Although the majority of respondents mentioned that they or their loved ones identified the scammers immediately (54pc), 40pc still needed to start a dialogue for doing this.

People also try to stay safe from scammers through special apps and programmes. According to the survey, at least 26pc of respondents use special security solutions (antivirus) to protect themselves against online scams, 19pc installed a specialist caller identification mobile application or enabled caller-ID and 35pc apply built-in phone functions against phone fraud.

Basic security rules include:

Do not click on suspicious links in emails and messages in chats.

If you have found out about a particular promotion and want to participate, check the official website or official social media accounts to be sure that this company or brand is holding it.

Install a reliable security solution with up-to-date databases of phishing sites, scam and spam.

Never share confidential information with third parties, including a one-time code from an SMS or push notification.

Install a solution that detects phone numbers of spammers and fraudsters.

Remember, if an offer on the Internet sounds too tempting to be true, then most likely it is fake.

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