Social media is incredibly popular and, as I have warned you many times, anything popular with the public will always be popular with scammers and so it was not surprising when a recent report of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) indicated that in 2021 scammers profited from scams that initially started on social media more than any other method of contacting their victims. So while we should all be wary of emails and text messages that are used by scammers to contact us, we are most vulnerable on social media.
According to the FTC, scam victims lost approximately 770 million dollars to scams that originated on social media in 2021 and this figure is undoubtedly less than the real amount because studies have shown that most people who have been scammed don’t even report the scam to law enforcement or government agencies. Demographically, according to the FTC study people between the ages of 18 and 39 were the most likely to be scammed on social media.
While setting up phony websites, phishing emails, phishing texts (Smishing) and phony phone calls can require technological sophistication or be particularly time consuming to perpetrate, it can be incredibly easy for a scammer to use social media to reach out to unsuspecting victims. Scammers can set up a phony profile or hack into the accounts of real people and use those accounts to reach out to contact trusting victims. They can study the posts of their intended victims and learn how to appeal to their interests for their scams or they can even use tools available to advertisers on social media sites to target people with phony ads.
Investment scams, particularly related to cryptocurrency investments, romance scams and online purchases from ads on social media were the most common types of scams done through social media.
So how do you protect yourself.
B.S. Be skeptical. Merely because you see a post from a friend doesn’t mean that it is legitimate. Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. That post from a “friend’s” social media account may actually be from a scammer who has copied or cloned your friend’s account, actually hacked your friend’s account, or somehow tricked your real friend into sharing a scam unwittingly. Either way, such posts are not to be trusted.
When it comes to investment scams, as I have written many times, you should never invest in anything you do not fully understand and should always research the investment and the person offering the investment whenever you are considering investing in anything. For more tips, check out this Scam of the day https://scamicide.com/2021/04/08/scam-of-the-day-april-9-2021-investment-scammer-sentenced-to-17-5-years-in-prison/ You can find many more Scams of the day dealing with investment scams in the archives of Scamicide.com
Similarly you can find tips for avoiding romance scams in this particular Scam of the day and in the Scamicide archives. https://scamicide.com/2021/09/22/scam-of-the-day-september-23-2021-new-trend-in-romance-scams/
You also can use privacy settings on your social media accounts to limit the personal information collected by your social media platform. Some platforms allow you to opt out of targeted advertising.
Whenever you get contacted by a friend about some great opportunity, check with your friend by phone to find out if indeed they are the one contacting you and even if they are, be skeptical. They could have been scammed.
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive free daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and type in your email address where it states “Sign up for this blog.”