Cyber Safety: Social Media Scams

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It’s fun to connect and share our lives through social media sites, but scammers are using these sites to con people out of millions of dollars. According to a data spotlight authored by the Federal Trade Commission, one in four people who reported losing money to fraud in 2021 said it started on social media with an ad, a post, or a message.

Users reported more than $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media platforms last year. Reports are up for every age group, but people 18 to 39 were more than twice as likely as older adults to report losing money to these scams.

For scammers, there’s a lot to like about social media. It’s easy to manufacture a fake persona, hack into an existing profile to get “friends” to con or study the personal details people share on social media.

So, how can you still enjoy social media while being safe?

Keep your profile as private as possible - Use whatever tools the site offers to limit information sharing and keep strangers from accessing your information. Don't accept friend requests from anyone you don't know and don’t respond to financial requests from anyone on social media sites.

Remove identifying information - Your date of birth, anniversary, phone number, current job, schools attended - these can all be answers to security questions.

Delete unused profiles - If you’re no longer active on a social media site, don’t let your profile sit. Delete it so it can’t be used by scammers to scam your friend list.