“Hey there, did you know that Facebook is about to roll out a new update? We’ve also got the details on the new Facebook Messenger App! All the information is here. Just click the link to the blog below and we’ll get you right into it.”
This sounds legitimate, doesn’t it? If you ever receive a message like this, DON’T CLICK ON IT. In fact, you shouldn’t click on any links from anyone you don’t personally know.
Don’t believe everything you see. The world is littered with fakes. As the popular saying goes, “Not everyone is who they say they are online.”
Now, this isn’t to say that everyone out there is out to get you. But it is good to be aware that there are some people who will and have no problem doing so. If it seems like a too-good-to-be-true story, more often than not, it’s just that. That’s why, in this guide, you’ll learn about the top three worst social media scams to avoid falling victim to.
The first social media platform that comes to mind when you think of online selling is Facebook. This is because this social media giant has one of the widest reaches, with over 2.93 billion monthly active users, according to Hootsuite. It accounts for 71.64% of all web traffic referral from social media. With numbers this high, it’s a prime place for sellers to advertise their products.
The problem, however, is that not all of these sellers are trustworthy, nor do they offer the exact items being advertised. There have been reports of buyers making payments to scammers posing as sellers and not receiving their goods. Unfortunately, there’s little Facebook or other platforms can do, other than to suspend or ban such sellers. But still, the money is gone with the wind.
Without a doubt, online marketplaces (especially Facebook) are hotspots for finding some of the best deals and, sadly, some of the worst ones that would leave a sour tale on your lips. So, to protect yourself against scams, follow these tips:
· Conduct deep research on the products you want to buy. If you have zero knowledge about the item, ask others who do on the platforms or forums like Reddit and Quora. If a seller is willing to offer you a $2,000 iPhone for $450, it’s likely a scam.
· Check the comment section of posts to read reviews from users who have paid and received their goods. In addition, inquire from the seller if you can pay in person and pick up the item or if they offer cash on delivery (COD). Shady sellers would often act cagey at this point, and that should raise red flags.
We’ve all taken our share of quizzes on Facebook, such as “What are your top 6 qualities?” “How old is the inner you?” or “Which Disney princess are you?” But did you ever take one that asked for your login details or some other form of identifiable credentials? These “quizzes” are designed to play on your emotions and harvest your personal information.
When you take them, the scammers will use the information you’ve mentioned to target you for future scams or impersonate you on your social networks. Many social media users have lost their accounts to this trick. So, as a rule, never input your login credentials to access any quiz or test, no matter how much fun or insight it promises.
You don’t need a quiz to tell you which character in Star Wars you are. Just watch the movie to understand it yourself.
The world’s universal language isn’t English, it’s money. When it talks, you need no translator to understand what it says. And when money is in play, scammers would move heaven and earth to acquire it. One of the tactics they employ is investment and cryptocurrency opportunities, often through Telegram and WhatsApp. And there’s quite a ton of them.
So, it’s not surprising that many social media users fall for these phony offers and get robbed of their hard-earned money. In 2022, investment and cryptocurrency scams accounted for 37% of all social media scam losses, with crypto scams comprising the most losses.
How do these scams work? A con artist sends you a direct message on WhatsApp, Telegram, or any other app. They briefly develop a cordial relationship with you and learn about your financial situation before getting down to business.
As the conversation builds up, they pitch an investment or crypto opportunity that makes them a truckload of money, backing their claims with account statements. Obviously, those are fake. You inquire more about the offer, to which they promise high returns with the added incentive that your payouts won’t be affected by any adverse financial issues. Sounds promising, right?
You take the bait and invest your money or purchase the coin. Initially, you receive small payments to build your confidence, and then you go on to double or triple your investments to earn more. But as you’re about to receive your next payment, something terrible happens.
“There’s a glitch in the system. This isn’t the first time this has happened. But there’s no need to worry as you’re in good hands. You just have to be a bit patient.”
After a while, they come up with various reasons the funds aren’t cleared. A few weeks or months pass, you can no longer access your investment account or the funds, and the self-proclaimed “investor” has gone dark.
To avoid this scam:
· Never reply to any unsolicited messages from strangers who promise high-yield returns on random investments.
· Whenever someone contacts you, reverse search their phone number on Nuwber, a people search engine, to understand who you’re dealing with.
· Don’t reveal your bank account details or any information that could be used to commit financial crimes.
Social media scams are a widespread problem, and they occur more often than you might realize. As the above information has shown, there’s no shortage of methods used by scammers to steal your identity, money, and peace of mind. These scams aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so you must take action to protect yourself. Thankfully, the tips discussed above should guide you through that path.