You get a notification on your phone, alerting you that an unfamiliar charge has posted to your account. You have no idea where the charge came from and suddenly your bank account is absent a couple of hundred bucks. You better act fast and get your credit or debit card cancelled before the scammer can purchase more stuff with your hard-earned money!

While scammers are generally known to target the elderly who can be susceptible to falling for their tricks, it turns out the younger generations are losing more money to scammers! Young people are targeted via social media like Instagram and Facebook. According to the Federal Trade Commission an astounding $2.7 Billion has been lost to scams on social media from June 2021-January 2023!

Many of these losses are generated through fake online shopping ads in which the merchant (scammer) doesn’t fulfill the order and disappears when you try to request a refund. Another scam that appears on social media is fake investment opportunities. These scammers lure people in with fake stories about their amazing financial success and promise ridiculous returns that sound way too good to be true. They tend to use some sort of cryptocurrency that can be difficult to trace once you realize it’s a scam.

Romance scams can take place on social media as well. Scammers pose as people looking for relationships by using fake profiles. From there they con the victim into sending them money for a multitude of reasons. Once again, they tend to request payment through cryptocurrency and once you send it, there is no getting it back.

It is important to understand these types of scams, so you can learn to avoid them. Some tips include:

  1. Limit who can see your posts and interact with your profile, this way scammers can’t “get to know you” and learn how to lure you in. You can change this in your privacy settings on all social media platforms.
  2. If you get an urgent message from a friend or family member requesting money in the form of cryptocurrency, gift cards or payment via PayPal or Venmo it is best to call them. Verifying with them is crucial as their social media may have gotten compromised by a scammer.
  3. If someone adds you on social media and “love bombs” you, urging you into a relationship or friendship – make sure to slowdown and figure out if this person is truly interested, or if they just want to scam you. Romance scams can be hard to pick out at first, as the scammer tries their best to seem legit.
  4. Talk to your bank or credit union about anti-fraud protections they have in their customers’ accounts. As fraud continues to become more of an issue, financial institutions are doing everything they can to keep up.