Pinterest has changed the way we think of social media. Instead of using text, users "pin" images to a virtual scrapbook and share it with followers.
“What we're seeing is people who are more visually oriented are really keen on Pinterest and using it,” said internet security specialist Christopher Budd.
Budd adds Pinterest's sudden popularity has created the perfect setting for cyber criminals.
“The explosion of malicious interest in Pinterest is amazing,” said Budd. “And until Pinterest builds up their security capabilities, you can expect it’s going to be a bit of a rough ride”.
The scam works like this: Thieves pin fake images of great deals at well known retailers. When you click the image you're taken to a fake Pinterest site that looks legit. But when you select an offer, the thieves will ask for all sorts of financial information.
“In some cases your banking account pin, other cases it's going to ask for your phone number, so that they can start sending so called premium SMS messages to you,” said Budd.
Budd warns that cell phones are another target. The iPhone is the only one with a real Pinterest app.
All others are fakes and will bombard your phone unwanted messages.
“You'll start seeing ad banners across the top of your phone. You don't want to click on those banners, those will take you to the same survey spam sites,” Budd explained.
Pinterest says it will never post advertisements, giveaways or promotions. So if you see any, don't click on them – report the issue instead.
And until Pinterest is able to come up with better security, Budd says only use the site to get ideas.
”Just look. See what's there. And then go to the verified real site if you're going to make purchases or before entering anything,” he said.