Social media scammers stole $770 million from victims last year

midian182

Posts: 7,761   +78
Staff member
TL;DR: Just because there are more tech-savvy people around, it doesn’t mean the number of social media fraud victims is declining. According to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the number of users who reported being swindled through sites like Facebook and Twitter reached a record 95,000 last year, with total losses reaching a massive $770 million.

The FTC writes that 25% of all reported losses to fraud in 2021 were those that originated from social media platforms. The most recent figures mark an eighteenfold increase over 2017 reported losses, but they are likely to be much higher as many people are too embarrassed or ashamed to report being scammed.

Scammers love social media platforms. The sites offer a multitude of ways to con money out of people and are a cheap method of reaching billions of potential victims. Many criminals utilize the personal information publicly available on the platforms, and they can target people via scam ads that are pushed to those with specific interests or who fall into certain demographics.

Of that $770 million stolen by scammers, the majority (37%) was lost to investment scams. Fake cryptocurrency schemes remain a popular way to steal people’s money, and plenty have fallen for NFT sales that turned out to be cons.

Romance scams were responsible for the second-highest (24%) number of reported losses. These sorts of frauds have been around for decades but have seen their popularity skyrocket since the proliferation of social media. It’s also the scam that most people feel too ashamed or embarrassed to report.

While investment and romance scams were most profitable, the largest number of scam-related reports (45%) in 2021 were for online shopping fraud. These usually involve ads for fake websites that social media users click on before ordering an item that never arrives.

The FTC recommends some ways to limit your chances of being scammed on social media: restrict your privacy settings, opt-out of targeted advertising (if possible), beware of suspicious messages from friends who may have been hacked, check out company reviews before buying something, and don’t dive into romances with a stranger or send them money.

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,237   +7,153
#1 Unless you physically (carnally) know someone, you should not be "sending them" any money.

#2 Never cosign for/ with anyone - for anything - ever. Protect your credit. (ignore me at your peril)

#3 Always check emails and websites for authenticity. I get all types of fakery from Amazon, Ebay, Apple and Microsoft fakes. Never enter private info if you are solicited to do so.

 

wiyosaya

Posts: 7,470   +6,247
#1 Unless you physically (carnally) know someone, you should not be "sending them" any money.

#2 Never cosign for/ with anyone - for anything - ever. Protect your credit. (ignore me at your peril)

#3 Always check emails and websites for authenticity. I get all types of fakery from Amazon, Ebay, Apple and Microsoft fakes. Never enter private info if you are solicited to do so.
I am sure this is obvious for most people that are members of TechSpot.

As far as your fake e-mail, I've been using https://sneakemail.com for years. Everyone that I do business with, and even every forum that I am on, has a different e-mail address that is forwarded to my real e-mail address which no one, absolutely no one, not even family, gets. I've spotted scams in an instant because all my e-mail addresses are unique to whom I gave it to. And the result?? I get almost no spam.

What this article speaks to, IMO, are the users out there that, for one reason or another, fail to realize that Social Media is basically a useless ego trip.

Investment scheme from a social media user? Nope. Try something like Vanguard, or Fidelity or one of the other big names in mutual funds. Even brokerage houses can be ripe with people who fly just under the line of legality in terms of investments and advice.
Love from a social media user? Nope. Try a reputable dating site. Even then, there is no guarantee of a match. I got lucky on Match.com in 2001 and that was only because the woman I met, dated, lived with, then married and have been with since then was a programmer and managed to guess what my e-mail address was.

IMO, anyone looking to social media for the things mentioned in this article are looking in the wrong place. Worse yet, those looking to social media for such things should know better - but social media is made out to be the be-all-end-all when it is really a wolf in sheep's clothing.
 

brucek

Posts: 1,100   +1,617
And this is just users who reported their loss, meaning, very likely just the tip of the iceberg.