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Social Media: Connections, Community, and a Hub for these 5 Common Scams

Jan 12, 2024
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Social media is an essential part of our lives. It connects us with loved ones and friends, keeps us up to date with the latest news and trends, and even lets companies conduct business. Unfortunately, our social media connections have also become a hub for fraudulent activity and scams.

Social Media: A Goldmine for Fraud and Scams

Social media gives scammers the ability to hide in plain sight, allowing them to create a fake persona or hack into real profiles and pretend to be someone else or even a business. According to a new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Americans lost nearly $3 billion dollars between January 2021 and June 2023 as a result of social media scams. The next time you’re scrolling through Facebook or other social media platforms, don't be so quick to click on a message or enticing ad. If you do, you might be inviting an unwelcomed scam. 

5 Common Social Media Scams

While social media creates a place for people to connect, it also creates an environment for criminals to use various tactics to commit fraud. Below we uncover five common social media scams, warnings signs and tips for avoiding these deceitful schemes. 


Online Quiz Scams

While those fun online quizzes may seem innocent and harmless, asking questions such as “Which dog breed are you” or “What’s your mother’s maiden name”, criminals use these tactics as an invitation to steal your sensitive personal information and exploit you financially. The next time you come across one of these, you may want to think twice before playing along.

Warning signs of an online quiz scam: 

  • Being asked questions similar to security questions for online accounts. 
  • Being asked unrelated and deeply personal questions. 
  • Requiring you to give personal information to view results.

Don't get scammed - follow these tips:

  • Be careful with what information you share and with whom on social media.
  • Remove personal information like your phone number and home address from your social media profile.
  • Use strong passwords and security questions for your online accounts.

Advertisement Scams

While there are legitimate businesses online, scammers can create fake ones too. Social media is often used to promote faux products, job offers, and deals that are too good to be true. Scammers will use enticing ads in an attempt to capture your attention and personal information. Trust your gut and don’t get fooled. Steer clear of these indicators of fraudulent ads and businesses. 

Warning signs of fake ad scams: 

  • Offer seems too good to be true or offered at an exponentially low price.
  • Poor quality product images; spelling or grammatical errors.
  • Ask you to pay a fee to complete a job application or start in the role.

Don't get scammed - follow these tips:

  • Don’t click on suspicious looking ads or other links.
  • Do a Google search of products and compare pricing with other online retailers.
  • Check online reviews and complaints about the business or company.

Imposter Scams

Social media scammers often pose as someone else to gain your trust. An example can be pretending to be someone you know like a friend, family member, or company you do business with. Look for these signs and take the appropriate safety measures to avoid imposter scams.

Warning signs of imposter scams: 

  • You get a message from a friend or family member asking you to send money or another suspicious request.
  • You receive urgent notification of money owed that threatens legal action if you don’t pay immediately.
  • Someone is asking you to send money via wire transfer, gift card, cryptocurrency or via mobile payment (Venmo®, Cash App, or Zelle®).

Don't get scammed - follow these tips:

  • If you believe you may know the person reaching out, call them to verify.
  • Remember, legitimate businesses will never pressure you to make an immediate decision; resist the urge to act quickly.
  • Never send money to someone you don’t know, think you may know but aren’t certain, or someone you've only met online..

Teens in circle holding smart mobile phones


Financial Promise Scams

Who wouldn’t want to win big or find solutions to financial woes? If someone contacts you claiming that you won a prize or they can make all your financial worries disappear, most likely it’s a scam. Common scams making their rounds via social media are “grant money”, get rich quick schemes, and other giveaway type offers. Don’t fall for false promises of easy money – here’s what you need to watch out for. 

Warning signs of a financial relief scam: 

  • You’re being asked to pay up front for fees, taxes, or to claim a prize.
  • You’re asked to provide personal or account information (bank account information, credit card numbers, social security number, etc.).
  • They’re giving you a guaranteed claim that all your debts will be forgiven.

Don't get scammed - follow these tips:

  • Don’t give out your sensitive information such as credit card details or your Social Security number.
  • Don’t send payments in the form of gift cards, wire transfers, or other untraceable methods.
  • Never answer or respond to unsolicited requests, click on suspicious links, or download attachments to your devices.

Always Exercise Vigilance - We're Here to Help

While social media is a great place for connections and community, it’s also a hub for scams which can pose serious threats to your personal and financial security. That’s why it’s extremely important to be vigilant whenever you’re scrolling through social media. By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of social media while also keeping yourself safe.

Please remember, neither Peach State FCU nor any of our third-party vendors (i.e., Visa) will ever call, text, or email you asking you to disclose account or other personal information. If you believe you were contacted by someone pretending to be from Peach State or another legitimate agency, don’t respond and contact us immediately at 855.889.4328, stop by your local branch, or email us at psfcu@peachstatefcu.org.

To learn more about ways you can further protect yourself from fraud and scams, visit the Fraud Prevention section on our website.

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