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How to avoid Social Media Scams

How to avoid Social Media Scams

Despite social media having plenty of productive and fun uses, it has become a popular hotspot for scammers looking for your confidential information. In 2021, the number of people using social media was nearly 4.5 billion worldwide, with the average user accessing 6.6 different social media platforms. According to the FTC, in 2021 more than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud, initiated on social media.

More than one in four people who reported losing money to fraud in 2021 said it was a result of an ad, a post or a message on a social media platform. With data like that, it’s no surprise that scammers are targeting social media to scam consumers.

Social media allows scammers to reach billions of people all over the world. They can also use personal details that people share on social media, such as age, interests and even past purchases. Be cautious of links posted to your wall, news feed or sent via direct message. Most of you probably have received an odd message or even a friend request from someone whom you thought you were already friends with, but its always best to reach out personally before accepting requests. Never accept a request from someone you don’t know. This is a common tactic where the scammers lead you to malware that can then spread through your account.

Another popular scam done through email or text message is a NortonLifeLock impersonation. Their tactic is to create a sense of urgency by threatening to charge your credit card if you don’t respond. They’ve also been known to include warnings that your computer has been infected with a virus and give you a way to contact “Norton” to fix your issue. The contact given will lead you to a site or number controlled by the scammer. It’s important to remember to never provide personal or confidential information to a sender or website that you do not know or trust.

Here are a few general tips for you to keep in mind:

  1. Watch out for scam giveaways, contests and quizzes.
  2. Be cautious of new friend requests.
  3. Avoid oversharing personal details on social media.
  4. Secure your social media accounts.
  5. Avoid clicking links that you aren’t sure where they may lead you to.

The reality is that social media is here to stay, so as consumers we need to be more vigilant. Scams are constantly evolving and some may look more legitimate than others, but you must remember to always be on guard. If you receive a suspicious email, text or phone call, never click on the links or open any attachments. Click here for additional tips on security. As always, if you have any concerns or questions, feel free to reach out to us at 717.436.2144.