As social media continues to gain prominence amongst South African consumers, platforms like Instagram, Youtube, WeChat, Facebook and Twitter have also become a platform where fraudsters attempt to catch unsuspecting consumers off guard.
Given that the popularity of social media is set to remain for the coming years, consumers are encouraged to constantly educate themselves and their loved ones about the latest methods that fraudsters use to get hold of their victims’ personal information.
Here are the Top 7 Social Media Scams You Should Know About
Never share personal photos or videos on social media that portray you in a compromising position as scammers can use these against you by threatening to send them to close family members or upload them on public platforms.
Beware of fraudsters pretending to represent your bank on social media platforms. Your bank will never ask for your credit or cheque card, account number, online banking login details or password or One Time PIN (OTP) on social media platforms.
3. Help and favours
Be on high alert when asked for special financial favours or urgent assistance by strangers, no matter how caring or persistent the individuals may seem. Never share your banking details with strangers and think twice before sending money to someone you recently met online or haven’t met in person yet.
4. Dating and romance scams
This is by far the most popular type of scam.
Consumers who use social media platforms to meet companions or their life partners should lookout for fraudsters that play on emotional triggers to scam people out of their hard earned cash. Dating and romance scammers often lower your defences by appealing to your compassionate side in order to take advantage of you.
Other ways they can scam you is by:
- Telling you they love you and want to send you a parcel of some sort containing valuables like gold etc but that you will have to pay for shipping costs.
- Telling you they want to come meet you but need transport fare.
- Some even go as far as either telling you that they are stranded in a place and need some money to find their way. or that they are in a police cell (some will say they are in a hospital and need money to settle their bills) in a new country and need money to bail themselves.
5. Identity theft
Avoid sharing personal information, such as ID, passport, drivers licence, payslip, bank statement, municipal or account statements on social media. Fraudsters can steal your information and use it illegally by impersonating you.
6. Money laundering Aka Wire Wire
Scammers often trick people through social media platforms by claiming to have large sums of cash that they need to deposit urgently through a foreign bank account.
Do not allow your account to be used by another person to deposit or transact on. This can put you in serious trouble with authorities as allowing proceeds of crime to be laundered through your bank account, knowingly or unknowingly, is a criminal offence.
Furthermore, never open a bank account in your name on behalf of a person you have met on social media platforms, irrespective of the circumstances.
7. Gift cards
Be on high alert when asked for Gift cards (Itunes and Amazon) by someone online you’ve never met, no matter how loving the individuals may seem, he is only after your money.
Gift card can be converted to cash.
When all safety precautions are taken into account, social media remains one of the best platforms that consumers can use to keep up to date with the latest news and trends, interact and catch up with friends and family.