Social media and online marketplace yield more for scammers
Scammers have long used telephone and email fraud to fleece consumers of their hard-earned cash. However, with the rise in social media and online shopping, scammers are now moving online.
A recent report by the Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Investor Education Foundation (FINRA), and the Stamford Center on Longevity shows that more people are falling for scams on social media and in the online marketplace.
Nearly a quarter of people who participated in the study engaged with fraudsters and lost an average of $600.
Some key findings include:
- When scammers used phone and email to target consumers, relatively few consumers engaged with the scammer or lost money.
- However, when exposed to a scam on social media, 91 per cent engaged and 53 per cent lost money.
- Similarly, 81 per cent of consumers who were exposed to a fraud via a website said they engaged and 50 per cent lost money.
- Consumers were more likely to be victimized if they did not have anyone to discuss the offer with.
- The likelihood of victimization for this sample is greater for individuals who are under financial strain, are younger adults, or have low levels of financial literacy.
Keeping yourself safe from scammers
The tactics of scammers are constantly changing, but there are a few things you can do to protect yourself. Knowing about scams and the various schemes and tactics can be your best defense.
One-third of consumers who were the target of a scammer, but did not engage, already knew about the specific type of scam. They also understood the tactics and behaviors of scammers. Listen to your ‘gut’ instincts. Sensing that something is not right should encourage people to stop, walk away, and investigate further before committing to anything or sending money.
Scammers always try to isolate their victims. Those most at-risk are individuals feeling lonely or isolated. This is why we encourage people to ask for input from others.
Do not be afraid to contact a friend, company or organization you trust to get advice.
Also, focus on your financial health and literacy. Individuals under financial strain and those with lower levels of financial literacy may be more susceptible to scammers.
If you have identified a scam, engaged with a scammer, or fell victim to a scam, report your experience to bbb.org/scamtracker.