Spotting and Preventing Scamming on Social Media

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Scamming occurs on a daily basis and despite how well we attempt to protect ourselves, there’s no denying that scamming attempts have become incredibly sophisticated throughout the years, often tricking us in ways we didn’t think would be possible.  

Scamming in general often appears in areas of our lives where we spend a lot of our time. Social media in particular can play host to a variety of scams that can appear in many different forms, often targeting a broad audience or specific individuals with the intention to manipulate or swindle us out of money. Data from the Federal Trade Commission showed that ‘more than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media platforms in 2021’

How Do People Get Scammed on Social Media?

When we are sat scrolling through our news feeds, scams can appear at any given time, from ads that we see to direct messages being received. Unfortunately, they can often appear so legitimate that it can be difficult to determine what is real and what isn’t. Despite this, there are a number of ways that social media scams can manifest: (Click on icons to read more).

People pretending to be known friends or family members, requesting money or encouraging you to click on links.

Enticing links or adverts that may contain malware or ask you to input personal details.

False emails or notifications about your account e.g. confirm your username and password.

Users pretending to be romantically interested in someone and then requesting money under false pretences.

How to Avoid Being Scammed on Social Media

A huge part of protecting ourselves online is to be highly critical of what we interact with. Disbelieving something and taking the time to critically think about what is in front of us could be all it takes to protect ourselves from a potential scam. Trust your gut and never feel pressured into acting on something quickly or without thought. Here are some potential red flags when it comes to social media scams.

Whoever it may be, a close friend, a family member contact them through a separate channel and make sure it is who they say they are before engaging with any request online. If you have not met the person before, be highly critical of any financial request.

If an add or a link promises something that just seems a bit too perfect, then trust your gut and don’t proceed any further. Watch out for links that use enticing language e.g. ‘You won’t believe what happens’ and be vigilant of where URLs will take you.

Never feel pressured into acting fast without giving something proper thought and consideration. Make sure you slow down, you’ve got all the time you need to determine whether something is legitimate or not.

Whether it’s from an email or a direct message, do not share anything without contacting the platform via your normal routes. Many platforms will show you on your account if they have sent any emails to you so always check to make sure it has come from a trusted source.

What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed on Social Media

Whether it’s yourself or a child in your care, it’s important to reassure the message that you have not done anything wrong. Anyone can fall victim to a scam so never feel as though you are alone. Try and stay calm and see if the situation can be resolved. If you realise that information or money has been compromised, remember to: (Click on icons for more information)

Contact your bank immediately and put a stop on all payments.

If you feel this information has been lost then change your password as soon as you can.

Try and record and note down everything that happened.

Make a report and try and tell them everything that happened with as much detail as possible. This will help with their investigation.

If you have been scammed on a particular social media platform, report the incident to them direct.

You are not alone, talk friends, family members, or contact a support helpline such as; Victim SupportThink Jessica or the Samaritans.

To find out more about social media, make sure you visit our social media hub where there's information about keeping your account secure as well as articles about misinformation and other important topics.

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