McAfee Issues Pinterest Scam Alert, Warns Users to “Pin with Caution”

Pinterest users should be careful when visiting a link that uses catchy titles like “Free Gift Card” “Shocking video” or “Free Giveaways”

In March, McAfee Labs reported a new wave of social scams targeting Pinterest users that could compromise their personal information. Today, McAfee Labs warns consumers that ready-to-use toolkits, that make it easy for anyone to start a Pinterest scam without much difficulty or technical skill, are readily available on the web.  These toolkits are used by cybercriminals to redirect users to scam sites, asking them to fill out surveys or purchase products that will compromise their personal data and bank accounts. It’s important to be aware of these emerging threats and Pin with caution.

Here are more details about these recent threats, and how to avoid them.

The Scam:

McAfee Labs has observed that these scams create fake posts on using various accounts that contain images and links to various websites. If a Pinterest user visits any of these and clicks on the link, they will be redirected to a new website where they are asked to “Pin” the content before they can proceed further.

After a user has “Pinned” the content, it will redirect users to another website depending on the device they are using:

1.    If users are browsing the site from a non-mobile device, they will be redirected to other sites to complete surveys.

2.    In some cases users can be redirected to or similar ecommerce sites where spammers can make money though an affiliate program.

3.    If users are browsing the site from a mobile device, this can lead to premium calling numbers that cost users money.

The Dangers: Many of these scams ask users to complete surveys which require the user to fill in his or her personal details like name, email address and mobile number.  This information can be used in various malevolent activities like spamming, but in the case of mobile devices, this may lead to premium calling numbers where users are stuck with the bill.

Bottom Line: With the exponential growth of Pinterest users, these scams are becoming more popular amongst spammer to make quick money. When using Pinterest, click and pin with caution.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim:

1.    Never share your password.  These tools make it very easy to mass-comment or post from any account.

2.    If any page asks you to “Pin It” before you can see the content, this is mostly likely a scam. Do not click on the “pin it” button and leave the page.

3.    If any page offers you a “free gift card” and redirects you to a survey, this is most likely a scam. Do not click on the “pin it” button and leave the page.

4.    Be careful while clicking links that have catchy titles like “shocking video,” “you will not believe it,” ”free give away,” etc. Most of the time, these lead to scams.

Tips on What to Do If You Have Become a Victim:

You’re a victim, now what?

1.    Change your password immediately.

2.    Login to your Pinterest account and remove the “spammed” posts.

3.    Report all related posts to Pinterest using “Report Pin” feature.


For more information you can read the Mcafee Labs blog here.

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