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Protect Yourself From Social Media Scams

posted on Thursday, January 18, 2024 in Security & Fraud Information

Protect Yourself From Social Media Scams

The popularity of social media continues to grow, especially as new social channels are introduced. While social networks allow people to easily connect with each other and share information, they are also a hotbed for fraudulent activity. According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in four people who reported losing money to fraud over the last two years said the scam began on social media. That accounted for $2.7 billion in reported losses — the most of any contact method. The FTC report shows that people of all ages are impacted by scams on social media, however, it was most troubling for young people as 38% of 20- to 29-year-olds who lost money to fraud were contacted through social media. In the 18-19 age group, that figure was 47%.

To help consumers protect themselves, Northwest Bank is offering the following tips for spotting potential fraud scams on social media:

  • Review the account: Social media profiles from legitimate companies include specific details about the company or organization. They should also include a history of activity on that platform. Be cautious of accounts with incomplete profiles, very few posts or suspicious profile pictures.
  • Do some research: With any offer that seems too good to be true, the best practice is to be cautious. If you aren’t sure the post is legitimate, don’t click on the link in the social media post. Search for the offer or the company online to verify its legitimacy. Any offer shared on a company’s social media channel is likely being promoted elsewhere. Or you may find information confirming it’s a scam.
  • Don’t trust unsolicited messages: If someone you don’t know contacts you through a social media channel, be cautious interacting with them. It’s best to be suspicious of their intentions and not engage. And you should never share personal information or passwords even with people you know.
  • Be wary of friend requests: Scammers often try to connect with people on social media so they can interact with them directly. You should never accept friend requests from someone you don’t know. And if you receive a friend request from someone you’re already connected with, contact them immediately to let them know they may have been hacked.
  • Examine the content being shared: Companies often go through a strict approval process before sharing content on social media. If a post from a seemingly legitimate company includes poor grammar, spelling mistakes or low-resolution graphics, it’s best to assume it’s a scam.

Social media has become an easy vehicle for scammers to target their victims. Consumers should be on high alert when using social media. The safest thing you can do is be suspicious of anything that sounds too good to be true, even if it appears to come from someone you know.

Source: Iowa Bankers Association

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