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How to avoid being a victim of social media fraud

Social media scams.  (photo: BBC)
Social media scams. (photo: BBC)

Probably, there are many people who believe that only older people, millionaires and little knowledge of the subject of digital cybersecurity will be scammed through social media. The problem is, that person may be the clearest target for a cyber criminal, because they know how to detect that type of profile of a relaxed victim, who, by lowering their guard, makes their job easier.

A report from the Federal Trade Commission of the USAreveals that during 2021, social network users suffered scams of around 770 million dollars, of which 70% of money loss reports stemmed from online purchases after seeing an ad on social media and they never received their merchandise.

Featurespace’s team of fraud experts, led by PJ Rohall, has shared an article explaining how scammers identify targets on social media and prey on the emotional and psychological vulnerabilities of those victims, as well as some protection mechanisms that financial entities can acquire:

To be aware, everyone can be a victim of fraud

Every person in this world has some emotional and psychological vulnerability. Well, in the last two years, some of these vulnerabilities have been exposed and scammers are playing on all these fears, because:

– People care about financial stability.

– people feel alone and isolated in times of quarantine, in addition to worrying about your health and that of your loved ones.

– People feel they have missed opportunities in the social sphere and even, labor.

What changes today is that social networks allow scammers to discover people’s fears.

people leave enough clues on social media for interested fraudsters to create profiles about oneself and personal activities. Scammers just set traps.

Illustration of a person in quarantine.  (photo: The Digital Closure)
Illustration of a person in quarantine. (photo: The Digital Closure)

The advantage is scammers have thanks to social networks

Scammers can also improve their attacks. Someone who makes a love scam in Tinder you can have 100 chats in the app. Phone scams, on the other hand, limit the scammer to only one conversation at a time.

Also, social networks are not strictly regulated like banks. The problem of scale is the same as the problem of will. The recent Facebook scandal has revealed how the platform fails to eliminate hate, especially among non-English speaking users. If money launderers recruit ‘money mules’, what is the real risk of detection?

And here’s the deathblow: a large and growing research team shows that Social media has a negative impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health. These networks reinforce the same vulnerabilities that leave us vulnerable to phishing.

Tinder scam.  (photo: ThirteenBits)
Tinder scam. (photo: ThirteenBits)

This is how banks can combat this type of fraud

It is very important to know that the responsibility for fraud and fraud prevention cannot fall entirely on the bank’s customers.

customers have some degree of responsibility when it comes to handling your funds and databut it is clear that security holes still exist.

Fraud.  (photo: LATAM Cybersecurity)
Fraud. (photo: LATAM Cybersecurity)

Social media companies should do more to prevent scammers from exploiting their platforms and part of the blame lies with them, sadly they haven’t done enough yet. No major changes in the law, Social media companies cannot be trusted to fight financial fraud.

Ideally, individuals, groups and industries would have to play some role in preventing scams, but for now that leaves financial institutions with the burden of the results of these scams.

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