Anrijs Šmits, Fraud Prevention Expert at Luminor, talks about the types of scams currently common on social media and shares tips on how not to fall for scammers.
Social media is a breeding ground for fraudsters who create fake profiles and target relevant audiences based on age, income, purchase history or browsing history through targeted advertisements. For this reason, over the past year, social networks have become one of the most profitable platforms where scammers find their victims.
Observations show that people aged 18-39, that is, the most active users of social networks, are most often victims of scammers. Victims of financial fraud fall for seemingly innocent advertisements or publications, or receive letters urging them to take action.
Online shopping, contests and romance are the most common patterns
Fraudsters are particularly active on Facebook and Instagram, where not only purchase scams but also romance scams are committed, which are also popular on Tinder.
On Facebook, scammers often use groups to interact by selling or buying various products. Fraudsters usually offer the item at a low price, receive money for it, but do not ship the item. Also, honest sellers often come across bogus buyers who offer to buy goods from them using fake courier services (DHL, Omniva, etc.). Fraudsters offer sellers to open links with the symbols of these companies and enter their data, after which the money is scammed from the seller’s account.
One of the most popular Instagram scams is also related to trading. Fraudsters often create fake shops on Instagram, display beautiful product photos, buy fake followers and post a “super promotion” offer that gets victims hooked and transfers money or grabs and transfers their details to scammers who can then access the victim’s bank accounts and withdraw money.
Another popular scam on Instagram and Facebook is to post information about various contests or prizes. Fraudsters use it to impersonate the profiles of contest organizers and send fake win notifications, which usually contain links that require you to enter personal data ostensibly to receive a prize. As soon as the user enters his data, money is swindled from him.
There has also been a significant increase in scams, where the scammer would have initially started a romantic relationship with the victim. In this situation, Facebook, Instagram, and Tinder users receive a friend request from a stranger. As the communication develops, everything ends with a request for money transfer for any urgent and urgent need. Women are the most vulnerable to this type of scam.
New scheme – TikTok scammers
The TikTok platform is very popular with young people and scams have also been identified on the social network and are “growing”. For many, TikTok is a source of income, as popular enough accounts can receive promotional offers, pay-per-views and other material benefits.
One of the programs is fictitious TikTok account enhancement services – users are offered a service that will help them gain more followers. In fact, as soon as the victim transfers money for the service, the scammer disappears with all the money and breaks his promise.
Another similar scheme is the removal of the so-called “Shadowban” or shadowban for the user. A shadowban is a TikTok system that limits an account’s activity in cases where it contains inappropriate content or has a bad reputation.
In such cases, a person appears who starts telling a user with a small number of followers that his account is not picking up speed due to the TikTok platform or evildoers putting a shadowban, which makes him prevents you from gaining views and users. The scammer claims that he can remove this ban using a special program, but this will cost money, which is then lured and not returned.
What should I do to detect a scam attempt?
As a Luminor expert points out, a scam attempt is easier to spot if you discuss the situation with family or friends before taking any further action – consulting with people you trust can help protect you. your funds out of the hands of crooks in a timely manner. .
When deciding on a more expensive purchase, you should not rush in any way, especially if the ad forces you to act immediately. It is recommended not to give in to a momentary impulse and think twice about the offer, in order to avoid falling into the networks of scammers.
To protect against fraud, Anrijs Šmits advises to use the opportunities offered by social networks, for example, by limiting the circle of people who can see your posts on social networks, and completely refusing to advertise, if such an opportunity is offered.
“Even if you have received a money transfer request from someone you know on social media, before making a transfer, you should verify the accuracy of the information, for example by calling them, because their account in the social network can be hacked or In turn, before making a purchase, it is important to make sure of the existence of the company by checking the registration data, the existence of the address and telephone number”, explains the expert of the bank.