Security Alert to U.S. Citizens in Mongolia: Social Media Scamming
The Government of Mongolia recently reported a sharp increase in social media scamming. The scams vary widely and may involve identity theft, extortion, prostitution, and/or larceny. Perpetrators are actively locating and targeting victims through the following social media outlets:
- Social networks such as Facebook
- Dating sites such as Tinder
- Professional networks such as LinkedIn
- Video sharing such as YouTube and vlogs (video weblogs)
- Audio sharing such as podcasts
- Photo sharing such as Flickr and Photobucket
- Social bookmarking such as Digg and Reddit
- Public comment sections on webpages (such as those for online news sites)
- User created web pages such as Wikis and Wikipedia
To help prevent scamming, the U.S. Embassy advises all U.S. citizens visiting or residing in Mongolia to observe certain best practices when using social media.
- Post with Caution
You should have no expectation of privacy when using social media. Before posting an announcement or blog, assume that a wider audience will read it. Consider how your posting could make you a target for scammers. Avoid posting any information that could make you a target, such as a prominent or influential position or job. Avoid posting any information which could allow an attacker to discern your physical location. Be sure to disable geotagging when sharing photos.
- Maintain Privacy
To the extent possible, use strong passwords and apply maximum security settings when using social media to make it more difficult for scammers to access your posts, blogs, or personal information.
- Remain Skeptical
If someone you don’t know contacts you via social media, be skeptical. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Regard strangers asking you to send them money with particular suspicion. Never agree to meet unknown people in obscure, private locations. Never agree to carry unknown items or accept food or drink from strangers – they may be trying to extort or drug you. Avoid clicking on URLs or answering emails that contain misspellings or suspicious, oddly worded language.
Please contact the U.S. Embassy if you are a U.S. citizen victimized by any of these scams.