Social Media Scammers

Social media can help us to make connections, and to stay close with our loved ones no matter how far away they might be. However, it enables scammers to get to us just as easily as our friends and families can…

Posing as Friends and Family

Social media can allow strangers to pose as your friends or family, before making contact with you to ask for money or sending you phishing links to steal user data such as your login details or credit/debit card information.

You should be very wary if someone contacts you on social media asking you for personal or financial details. Although it may appear to be someone you know, it may not actually be them. Ignore these messages or verify who it is by ringing the person they are claiming to be on a trusted number you have used for them before and speaking to them over the phone.

Posing as Strangers

Sometimes people will get in contact with you by pretending they are someone you don’t know. They might create fake profiles before trying to gain your friendship or a romantic connection through social media or dating apps.

Scammers often target people who they feel could be lonely or vulnerable, gaining their trust before exploiting them for their own gain, such as asking you for money so they can come and visit you (but not actually doing).

The issue with social media is that anyone can claim to be whoever they want without any thorough identity verification checks.

Malicious Links

Scammers sometimes post links on social media sites like X (formerly Twitter) which redirect you to sites which then instal malware on your device.

It’s a good idea to instal anti-virus software to help protect your devices from malware. You should also use strong, unique passwords which are different for each of your accounts in order to make it harder for scammers to hack you.

Free Advertising for Scam Investments

Fraudsters increasingly use social media to offer scam investments, advertising ways to get rich quick.

 They may post pictures of things like lots of cash, expensive cars and screenshots of high bank balances to convince you that they have gained these things through the investments they are offering.

One thing we always say with investments, is that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Always take plenty of time to do lots of research before undertaking any investment opportunities. Check that whoever you are dealing with is FCA regulated and speak to a fully qualified and regulated adviser if you need any investment advice.

AI Creating New Scam Opportunities

According to the IDnow Fraud Awareness Report 2024, 47% of Brits don’t know what deepfakes are.

Deepfakes are incredibly lifelike manipulated images or recordings created using AI. These are a new type of tool used by scammers, with some fraudsters accessing recordings of people’s friends or family members to replicate their voices using AI to make hoax calls asking for money.

Therefore, as AI is becoming more used in society, there are even more types of scamming dangers we will need to become aware of.

Staying Safe

“The IDnow Fraud Awareness Report 2024 reveals that the UK public is not as concerned, or aware as they should be, of the possibilities and risks associated with existing and emerging forms of fraud. As noted, the public is 95% more likely to be a victim of fraud than of burglary, but many people still believe that someone breaking into their house or stealing their possessions is more likely. This shows a large gap between perceived risk and reality in 21st century Britain” – IDnow UK Fraud Awareness Report 2024

We lock our doors at night to stop burglars from getting in, and it’s time for us to take the same precautions with social media. Be careful about what information you share online and to who, use strong passwords and regularly change them, don’t click on links sent by strangers or posted by accounts you don’t trust, and always let someone know if you have been a victim of a scam.

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