Talking tech since 2003

If you're on Clubhouse, which just opened up to Android users yesterday, this post includes a crowdsourced list of tips and suggestions from active Clubhouse users on how to avoid being scammed on the app. Special thanks to Davey Barker, Walter Hassell, Adil Bux, and all my fellow co-mods and thank you to everyone else who shared their tips and advice as well.

If you find this helpful please consider giving it a share!

TIPS

  • DO NOT CLICK ON LINKS THAT YOU’RE UNSURE ABOUT. This is especially important with link shorteners like Bit.ly as it’s difficult to know where it may take you.
  • If you want to see the original version of a Bit.ly link, copy and paste the bit.ly link and add a + to the end. This will show a page that reveals where the link would take you. For example, if you see a link such as https://bit.ly/abcde, visit https://bit.ly/abcde+ to check the original link.
  • Keep your personal information to yourself.
  • Your date of birth is very important information. Consider using a fake date of birth on social media that may throw off scammers.
  • Do not include your phone number in your bio.
  • The more personal information you share, the easier it is to target you specifically — name, date of birth, address (even just your state/country), phone number, email address, username, and others.
  • Never share (either on your bio, verbally, or in any other way) any information that you may also have used as security questions — “What was your first job?”, “Where were you born?”, etc.
  • DO NOT send CashApp, Venmo, or Clubhouse payments to someone for services!
  • When looking into someone, each piece of confirmation you find adds weight to that this person may be legitimate.
  • Are they connected to significant individuals in their industry?
  • Are they on LinkedIn, with links to peers?
  • Do they have news articles in legitimate publications that mention them?
  • Do your friends know of them?
  • Are they accredited in their industry?
  • Take everything with a grain of salt!

SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS

  • Add a unique word or code to your bio that is unlikely to be used anywhere else on Clubhouse. Then, every so often use the Clubhouse search to search for that word/code, and it will return any profiles that contain that word. If there are any other profiles except your own, it’s likely that profile has copied your bio.
  • This can also be useful to check via search engines to see if your bio text is used somewhere else on the internet.
  • Some Clubhouse profiles are copied and pasted from the bio of real accounts (often doctors). Be careful when you encounter new profiles and don’t always take their bio as accurate until you’re sure.
  • When joining Clubhouse, identify purpose and what you are looking to share. Consider approaching each interaction with suspicion, particularly if it involves payment.
  • When using Clubhouse, be careful with what you say. Some in the room are looking to just learn more information about you (these people can just be listening to capture data about you). Be savvy when you use platforms such as Clubhouse.

TIPS / TRICKS TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED

  • Socialize SAFELY online.
  • DO NOT send CashApp or VENMO payments to someone for services!
  • DO your DUE DILIGENCE (e.g. {Insert Name} Court Case on Google)
  • Check ALL of their Social Media! Are their accounts new?
  • Take your time. DON’T RUSH when making decisions.

RESOURCES

BUZZWORDS THAT MAY BE RED FLAGS

  • Amazon Automation
  • Small Fee
  • 100% Guarantee
  • Free Trial
  • DM Me to Receive *insert xyz*
  • Self-Proclaimed Expert

THE WARNING SIGNS

  • Pressure to give right now. A legitimate charity will welcome your donation whenever you choose to make it.
  • A thank-you for a donation you don’t recall making. Making you think you’ve already given to the cause is a common trick unscrupulous fundraisers use to lower your resistance.
  • A request for payment by cash, gift card or wire transfer. Those are scammers' favored payment methods because the money is difficult to trace.

THE DO’S

  • Do check how watchdogs like Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance rate an organization before you make a donation, and contact your state’s charity regulator to verify that the organization is registered to raise money there.
  • Do your own research online. The FTC recommends searching for a charity’s name or a cause you want to support (like “animal welfare” or “homeless kids”) with terms such as “highly rated charity,” “complaints” and “scam.”
  • Do pay attention to the charity’s name and web address. Scammers often mimic the names of familiar, trusted organizations to fool donors.
  • Do ask how much of your donation goes to overhead and fundraising. One rule of thumb, used by Wise Giving Alliance, is that at least 65 percent of a charity’s total expenses should go directly to serving its mission.
  • Do keep a record of your donations and regularly review your credit card account to make sure you weren’t charged more than you agreed to give or unknowingly signed up for a recurring donation.

THE DON'TS

  • Don’t give personal and financial information like your Social Security number, date of birth, credit/debit card, or bank account number to anyone soliciting a donation. Scammers use that data to steal money and identities.
  • Don’t make a donation with cash or by gift card or wire transfer. Credit cards and checks are safer – but don't provide your direct credit/debit card numbers.
  • Don't click on links in unsolicited email, Facebook or Twitter fundraising messages; they can unleash malware.
  • Don’t donate by text without confirming the number on the charity’s official website.
  • Don’t assume pleas for help on social media or on crowdfunding sites such as GoFundMe are legitimate, especially in the wake of disasters. The FTC warns that fraudsters use real victims’ stories and pictures to con people.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES


HOW TO IDENTIFY A FAKE DOCTOR/PRACTITIONER

  • LICENSE
    Each state licenses doctors. With no license, the doctor is not allowed to practice medicine. You can further research the doctor with the state physician licensing board in each state where he or she is licensed.

  • BOARD CERTIFICATION
    Doctors may claim various board certifications in medical specialties. These credentials are verified by medical facilities who employ them or grant them privileges, but you may check board certification as well. Doctors may be board-certified in one area, but actually practicing in a different area of medicine.

  • MEDICAL SCHOOL & RESIDENCY
    For an older doctor, this may be less important than one who is younger and just getting started in practice. You may not know how old a doctor is when all you have is a name, so this information will give you some insight into his or her background and education credentials. The FSMB site shows medical school education and graduation dates. In some states, there will be more information about residency on their licensing site. For others, you'll get the information most quickly at a site like UCompareHealthcare.

  • HOSPITAL AFFILIATIONS
    Doctors must apply for privileges to admit and treat patients at hospitals. If you have a preferred hospital, it is important that the doctor has privileges to practice there. Some sites will note which hospitals a doctor is affiliated with.

  • COMPLAINTS OR MALPRACTICE
    A doctor may have been reported problems for anything from a bad attitude to an unclean office to malpractice. Problems for others may become problems for you. The FSMB site will list any actions related to medical malpractice, but you may want to do further web searches for the doctor by name for suits that may be pending. To find general commentary about a doctor's practice, you might turn to some of the online doctors' rating sites. However, be aware that these ratings are subjective and may have been influenced in many ways.

  • INVOLVEMENT IN RESEARCH
    If the doctor is involved in medical research, then their involvement is important to you. Not all doctors participate in medical research, but if they are affiliated with academic or university medical centers, there is a good chance they are. On the one hand, it means they are learning more about your problem, ways to diagnose or treat it, and may be considered experts in the field. On the other hand, it may mean they are being paid by drug or other medical manufacturing companies and their recommendations to you might (or might not) be skewed.

Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com/

IF SOMEONE TELLS YOU THEY ARE A VENTURE CAPITALIST (VC), DON’T BELIEVE THEM RIGHT AWAY

  • Stick with institutional VCs (someone that belongs to a firm).
  • A simple Google/DuckDuckGo search/due diligence should provide you with enough intel based on major publications and rankings.
  • Angel lists and/or vetted sources.
  • Reach out to their network.
  • There should be enough proof to move forward.
  • Pay attention to your feelings/gut.
  • Regarding Clubhouse, moderation means nothing.
  • Go to angel investor groups in local markets.
  • These are legitimate resources for smaller investors.

ASK QUESTIONS • ASK QUESTIONS • ASK QUESTIONS

HOW TO AVOID IDEA STEALING ON CLUBHOUSE

  • If you are worried about others stealing your story or intellectual property, don’t share it publicly.
  • The more people you tell, the more likely your concepts/ideas will be taken.

TYPES OF SCAMS ON CLUBHOUSE

  • Receive money for unproven products or services.
  • People pushing misinformation campaigns.
  • Pitch deck creation and/or distribution.
  • Phishing for information (ex. pet names, your hometown, etc.).
  • Unproven influencers.
  • Meta-marketing (e.g. “How to make a million dollars”).
  • Infiltration (large followings/network) for false credibility.
  • Paid mentorship and membership.
  • PPP loans.

SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS

  • Report users who use your profile pictures.
  • Treat all links with suspicion.
  • Protect your information.
  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Check the web address (or URL) but don’t open a link without being sure it’s safe to do so.
  • Stay alert and skeptical.
  • Act immediately if you think you have been a victim of an online scam.
  • If you have provided account numbers, PINs, or passwords to an unidentified source, notify the companies that you have accounts with right away.

TIPS / TRICKS TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED

  • Before sending money, you have control.
  • Check references.
  • Ask for entrepreneurs they’ve worked with.
  • Get to know them outside of the deal process.

IF YOU SPOT A SCAM, REPORT IT TO THE SOCIAL MEDIA SITE AND THE FTC AT ftc.gov/complaint

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