May 26, 2022

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has declared social media a “Gold Mine” for scammers after consumers reported losing $770 million in social media scams in 2021. That was double the amount of reported losses from 2020 – and we know fraud is severely under-reported, so the real losses are likely much higher.

The top three social media scams in 2021 were investment scams (many related to cryptocurrency), romance scams and shopping scams peddling counterfeit goods or not shipping anything at all.

According to the FTC, criminals are able to use the information we provide about ourselves on social media sites to target us with ads for fake products. The relatively low cost to advertise on these sites also makes it easier for crooks to cast a wider net.

To stay safe on social, make sure your privacy settings restrict who can see your personal information. Be wary of anyone you meet online who asks you to make an investment or help them out financially. Also, carefully research the company and product you might be interested in buying to make sure they are reputable.

Be a fraud fighter! If you can spot a scam, you can stop a scam.

Visit the AARP Fraud Watch Network at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or call the AARP Fraud Watch Helpline at 1-877-908-3360.

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