FTC reported that over 95,000 victims were cyberheisted out of more than $700 million dollars through social media cons. Among the top cons were, romance scams, and investment scams, facilitated using fake profiles or through methods like account cloning, account takeovers and impersonating friends to ask for money. Even though scammers have become much more sophisticated these days, people still fall for the old tried and true romance and investment scams. All good con artists know that gaining trust is crucial to the heist. Victims are usually contacted through phony social media profiles which I’m sure you’ve seen. Always scrutinize profiles. The scammer behind the profile engages in a romantic con job to build confidence over time. Of course, it always ends up in an urgent request for money to help with this or that. Scammers know that it works and is profitable. Bigly.
More than 95,000 people reported about $770 million in losses to fraud initiated on social media platforms in 2021. Those losses account for about 25% of all reported losses to fraud in 2021 and represent a stunning eighteenfold increase over 2017 reported losses. 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 in 2021.
For scammers, there’s a lot to like about social media. It’s a low-cost way to reach billions of people from anywhere in the world. It’s easy to manufacture a fake persona, or scammers can hack into an existing profile to get “friends” to con. There’s the ability to fine-tune their approach by studying the personal details people share on social media. In fact, scammers could easily use the tools available to advertisers on social media platforms to systematically target people with bogus ads based on personal details such as their age, interests, or past purchases