Social media scams

What to look for and how to avoid them


Social media is crawling with scammers because it’s easy for them to set up fake profiles and lure people with promises of riches, romance and great deals, only to scam them out of their money or identities. If you spend any amount of time on social media, chances are you have come across one of these types of scam posts:


How to spot a social media scam:

  • The post or private message contains grammar or spelling errors. 
  • The social media profile has few friends or minimal content, indicating it’s a new account.
  • The post advertises an expensive item at a fraction of the normal price.
  • You receive a friend request from someone who is already a friend on your site. 
  • A person who strikes up a conversation with you online asks to continue it through private message or text. 
  • You are asked to send money via a gift card, wire transfer or payment app. 
  • You receive a private message from a stranger with a link in it. 


 How to avoid social media scams:

  • Never send money to someone asking for it unless you can verify that it’s a friend or relative.
  • Change your password regularly, making sure it’s strong with more than seven characters and a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols. 
  • Never click on a link unless you’re certain the source is trustworthy.
  • Unless you know it’s a legitimate business asking, never provide personal information. 
  • Never respond to emails or text messages from social media sites asking to confirm your information.
  • Always verify the identity of a person or business before sending any money, and never send money via gift cards, wire transfers or payment apps. 


If you believe you have been victimized by a social media scammer, do the following:

  • Stop all contact with the scammer and block all methods of contact.
  • Maintain copies of communications.
  • Report the incident to the social media site, local law enforcement and the FBI at

About This Author


Ross Bentzler

Ross Bentzler is Executive VP and Information Security Officer for Alpine Bank. Ross has worked in the information technology field for two decades, focusing on information security for 13 years.

More about Ross Bentzler

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