Twitter – Beware of Spammers Sending you Links – Use LongURL to Expand Compressed Links

I had a great time tweeting during the Superbowl on Sunday.  There were some great commercials: an awesome cameo from Betty White stealing the spotlight on The Voice, Bud Light’s Weego commercial supporting The Animal Rescue Foundation, M&M’s introduction of Ms. Brown, and Chevy Silverado‘s take on surviving the Mayan Apocalypse 2012. There was also some football in-between the commercials – Congrats to the NY Giants!

If you have an active Twitter account, you also become a target for Spammers.  The latest tactic is to send tweets calling out an Twitter username with just a link. No message, no explanation, just a link.  Take a look at the screenshot below:

BEFORE YOU CLICK on the link, take a look at the sender’s account info.  A sender who is not following anyone and not being followed back is a great indication that this is a Spammer.  This account was created for one purpose – to send tweets with links until it is flagged for Spam!

Let’s take a closer look at that link.  If you have not used LongURL.org, add it to your bookmarks now!  LongURL will expand compressed URLs and show you the full path, along with any redirects to additional webpages.  Take a look at the report on the link that was sent to me:

Spammers make money by generating traffic through these redirects.  From this link maze, they can embed cookies in your browser to get credit for your purchases on a particular site.  In this case, the spammer is attempting to get affiliate credit from any future purchases on Amazon.  Escort services and porn sites have also start using this technique to get around Twitter’s Terms of Service.  Here’s someone that just tried Following me using Bit.ly to hide the escort/porn address.

But, Spammers can do even more – they can also send you to an infected website and subject your computer to trojans, web viruses, identity theft and other forms of malware.  LongURL will show you exactly where the link goes and the trail along the way.

If you receive a tweet like this, think BEFORE you click!  Use LongURL to decipher these links.  If it is a Spammer, be sure to flag the Twitter account for Spam!

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