The digital transformation is increasing the surge in social media scams. Consumers are getting scammed. According to the updated report of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), “consumers lost $770 million to the social media scammers in 2021”. The surge in online scams is alarming for social media users and digital businesses.
According to the FTC, there is an increase of 18 points in social media frauds from 42 million dollars in 2017. The boost in online consumerism, digital shopping, and cryptocurrency is giving rise to online fraud. The blind trust has cost over 95,000 people to lose at least $770 million through social media outlets. Whereas in 2020, the scammers could make off with $258 million only.
The enormity of scams is dangerous for businesses and consumers. In this article, we will discuss social media scams and how you can protect yourself from being caught up in such frauds. So, let’s know the crucial details of the social media scams in 2021.
Different categories of social media scams
Social media scams can come in many ways. Collectively, these scams have looted at least $770 million money from 95,000 online consumers. The 1800% surge in online looting is stunning as compared to 2017. Consumes of 18 to 39 years old were 2.4 times more likely to get scammed as compared to other age groups.
Investment scams, online shopping scams, and romance scams are three categories of social media scams. Let’s know the discrete details of each type of online scam.
Online investment scams topped the FTC list. As the economy is taking a shift from the physical to the virtual, so are the scammers and thieves. Cryptocurrency investments and doubling the investment are famous tactics of social media scammers.
Online shopping scams
FTC reports the greatest numbers of online scams come from online shopping. Online shopping scams involved the online consumers who ordered online getting nothing in return. These online frauds are common on Instagram and Facebook. Despite the considerable efforts, online shopping scams are out of control.
Online romance scams
After the online investment scams, online romance scams are the most popular types of fraud. You probably get lots of requests daily and gradually build a peculiar friendship. The virtual friends, if ever demand some money, consider it a romance scam for sure. Over 33% of people who get scammed said that they lost money to their virtual friend. Romance scams are common on Facebook and Instagram.
It will surprise you that over 70% of social media scams comprise investment, online shopping, and romance scams. While only 30% comes under all other social media outlets.
Why scammers love social media platforms?
Scammers love social media platforms. The reason for their love is the straightforward approach to their target. There are billions of users with different interests and aspirations. Often, the scammers take distinct personalities depending on the target. Fake personalities and fake virtual identities are assisting scammers.
Once they persuade the online users; they try to get personal details. Such as hobbies, interests, and credit card details. These details expose the users to the trickery of the scammers. And scammers exploit the information to steal the money.
How to protect yourself from social media scammers?
Vigilance and precaution are essential to avoid online scams. The surge in scams should alert you and the following steps should be taken to protect yourself from social media scams:
- Wire transfer, cryptocurrency, and gifts are the most beloved methods of payment for scammers. Try to avoid these methods of payment to secure your hard-earned money.
- Privacy is power. If you expose every detail on social media, it will give an upper hand to the scammers. By limiting the privacy to a certain secure limit, you can avoid scams.
- Whenever you do business with any online company, try to check its profile carefully. Search the company names with the keywords ‘scams’ or ‘frauds’ to check the credibility of the company.
- Try to remain cautious with your virtual friends. Don’t disclose any personal information before them. They can romantically scam you.
The bottom line
Social media scams are creating problems for users and for businesses. The 1800% rise in online frauds is a symbol of increasing vulnerability. But there are always some steps to avoid potential danger. FTC has also said to opt-out of the targeted audience from your privacy to avoid scammers and unnecessary advertisements.
Besides, you can show some vigilance while using online platforms, especially Instagram and Facebook. The anonymous IDs and unrecognizable profiles can scam you. That’s why you should take the above steps to weed out the scammers from the social media platforms.
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