According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a growing number of Americans are being scammed on social media. In 2021, individuals lost $770 million to social media scams, accounting for over one-fourth of all fraud losses for the year. As new sorts of frauds involving cryptocurrency and online shopping grew more popular, the FTC said, that number has climbed 18 times from the $42 million in social media fraud reported in 2017. As a result, many younger consumers are being conned, with adults aged 18 to 39 reporting fraud losses at a rate 2.4 times higher than adults aged 40 and up.
Scammers have obviously discovered that one of the most profitable locations to commit fraud is on social media. More than 95,000 fraud victims stated they were first approached on social media in 2018, which is more than double the figure in 2020 and 19 times the number in 2017.
Signs You Are Being Scammed
They got in touch with you.
When you phone a corporation, you
know who is on the other end of the line. If someone contacts you first, though, you can’t be sure they’re telling the truth. You have no means of knowing whether or not they are who they say they are. Keep in mind that email addresses and phone numbers can be fabricated.
They’re after your personal data.
Anyone who asks for personal information, such as bank accounts or social security numbers, should be avoided. Give it out gently and carefully, especially to strangers. It’s probable that you’ll
fall prey to identity theft.
They dangle a piece of bait—usually money—in front of them.
Let’s face it: huge sums of money are difficult to give away. If someone offers you something for nothing, such as a big prize, a shopping spree, or an easy loan, they’re definitely lying.
You’ll need to donate money or gift cards.
STOP if you’re going to wire money or give gift cards to someone to receive a prize, or if you’re about to pay off a debt collector that approaches you! This could be a con artist attempting to defraud you.
Attempts to earn the trust.
A common tactic used by online scammers is to acquire your trust in some way. It could impersonate a trusted source like the government, a company you enjoy, your work, or a family member. Take some time to verify the identity of an email you receive from your bank, Amazon, PayPal, a family member, or another reputable source before responding.
It’s often preferable to conduct a Google search for the company’s or entity’s contact information rather than clicking a link or dialing a phone number provided in a text or email. Most internet phishing or catfish scams can be avoided by taking this easy step.
Scammers usually ask you to phone a number, open a link, or log in to an account on the internet. The issue is that you’re not logging into a legitimate portal; instead, you’re providing the scammer with your login details through a bogus web page or form. Never comply with a request made via email or text message. Instead, act on your own. Typically, this entails quitting the text or email and searching the internet for the relevant website and contact information.
An encounter by chance
It’s usually a clue you’re being conned if someone reaches you unexpectedly. Even if the communication appears to be innocent, proceed with caution if you receive an SMS, email, phone call, or even a paper letter that you did not expect.
Inquires for personal information
If you get a request for personal information over the phone, by email, or via text, be cautious. One basic rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you or they initiated the contact. Never hand out personal information like your social security number, password, or PIN to strangers (vs. you contacting them first). In the United States, social security fraud is common, costing taxpayers billions of dollars each year.
Scams involving foreign exchange
A “government official” (or his widow), a lawyer representing a deceased foreign client, or a business owner wishes to deposit money from a foreign country in your bank account, which is sometimes referred to as Nigerian Fraud. The notion has many versions, but they all have one thing in common: the catch. To begin, you’ll need to pay their “transaction fees.” You should STOP in your tracks whenever you have to transmit money to collect a large fortune. There is no money, despite the appeal of a great sum of money. It’s a ruse. The truth is that they are attempting to defraud you, so do not respond.