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Social media scams to be aware of

Article was written by  Bongiwe Mati


Whether it is TikTok, Facebook, Instagram or WhatsApp, people are always glued to their phones surfing through social media platforms and chatting with friends and family. Although these are good platforms as they allow us to connect and interact with others, they can also pose a threat if we aren’t cautious enough. There are many people who have made it their job to scam others on these same social media channels.

Scammers often use different techniques to persuade people with their scams, below is a list of five common scams and tricks by social media scammers to look out for, shared by Security Boulevard.


1.  Lottery and gift card scams

Lottery and gift card scams prey on people’s desire for money. In a bid to make quick money, many unsuspecting victims end up taking the bait. These scams usually begin with unsolicited messages on social media claiming to give out gift cards for popular brands. The message will then most likely divert them to another page, where they’ll be asked to complete a basic task like forwarding the message to their friends. Sometimes they also ask for additional credentials to be filled out, which are then stolen. Lottery scams also begin in the same manner. They either ask people to send their account information to complete the transaction or transfer a small amount of money to cover transactional costs.

2. Account hacking

This is one of the most popular scams, the data breach exposes millions of social media credentials for criminals to exploit. These credentials are used to get into people’s accounts using various techniques. The criminals change the passwords locking the actual owners out of the accounts. Once hacked, the criminals then look to approach the user’s network and scam them.

 3. Crypto investment scams

This is a new scam that has picked up steam ever since crypto values have skyrocketed. Preying on people’s culpability, scammers pose as investment experts and ask people to transfer funds to their accounts. They promise to invest these funds in cryptocurrency and give them massive returns.

4. Social media phishing

Social media phishing can occur in a variety of ways. Criminals have access to so many tactics that it can be hard to nail down all of them. Fraudsters can send you compelling texts that contain interesting information. But to access the information, you need to enter your personal details. These details are then stolen and used for other cyber crimes. Several scams come under this category. The gossip scam, healthcare scam, photo scam, account deleted scam, Nigerian prince scam, and stuck abroad scam are just a few of the many ways social media phishing occurs.

5. Counterfeit/pirated goods

According to the FTC, 45% of total loss reports were related to online shopping scams. These scams sell counterfeit or fake goods to unsuspecting consumers or take money upfront and never send the goods. They cause massive reputational damage to brands. Posts and pages advertising such goods need to be identified and taken down as soon as possible.


This story first appeared on Bona.