A question that everyone wants answered when it comes to scams and frauds is where the greatest risk lies. When people are bombarded by criminals via email, phone, text and online, it’s hard to know what to focus on. And while it’s important to take every scam attempt seriously, consumers need to realize that they’re especially sensitive on social media.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, 25% of successful scams last year came from a social media platform. In 2017, consumers lost $42 million to social media scams. That total was $770 million last year, an 18-fold increase.
Here are three warning signs of social media scams.
• Friend requests from people you don’t know. Think of your parents when browsing the web and “don’t talk to strangers”.
• Celebrities who want to connect with you. Scammers clone celebrity profiles and send personal messages offering investment opportunities or a chance to meet in person. It’s a very effective crime tactic, so remember that celebrities don’t really want to be your friend online.
• Anyone offering investment opportunities. Cryptocurrency scams explode and usually start when an online “friend” offers an investment opportunity. Every time someone you’ve met online says “investment” or “crypto,” it’s time to walk away.
Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Hotline at 1-877-908-3360.