Scam Alert: Scams Starting on Social Media
Contributed by the Ministry of Trade (Turkey)
Social media is a hotbed for frauds and scams. The platforms enable scammers to hide behind fake profiles or take over real accounts. Scammers pretend to be someone you know to gain your trust. These imposters may take their time, chatting you up for weeks before teasing out your personal information or asking you for money.
Here are examples of scams starting on social media:
- Job and investment scams promise you a job or investment opportunities to earn a lot of money. The truth is these offers are just a ploy to get your money, personal information, or bank account details.
- Fake prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams tell you that you won a prize, but ask you to pay a fee or give bank account information to get the prize.
- Romance scams involve an online relationship, but after gaining your trust, will often ask you to send money or personal information.
- Subscription traps entice you to sign up for a free trial offer or sign you up for a paid subscription without your knowledge.
- Fake influencer sponsorships pretend to be real brands that offer sponsorship opportunities, but trick influencers/social media users with rising followers into sharing their bank information.
- Advertisements for cell phones and other electronics, priced well below market price. The products are never delivered.
- Phishing scams that use email or text messages to trick you into clicking on a fake login link to steal your password or account information.
Here’s what you can do to avoid these scams:
- Treat suspicious sites or accounts with caution. The scam might start with a friendly request.
- If you get a strange message from someone you know, reach out directly. Call or talk to the person face-to-face.
- Be alert to strangers following you on social media, and messages that ask you to give or share something. Scammers are after your money and personal information. Don’t respond.
- Always verify the account and identity of the person or company you’re in contact with before responding. Take a close look at the sender’s email address or URL. Contact the person or company directly, or look up their website, to make sure they’re who they say they are.
- Protect your computer and devices. Use security software and protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication.
For more tips on staying safe on social media, read the Guide on Commercial Advertising and Unfair Commercial Practices by Social Media Influencers, prepared by the Turkish Ministry of Trade (only available in Turkish for now) or contact your national consumer protection agency.
If you believe that your consumer rights have been violated, report it to: