A recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) report revealed the amount of money US consumers lost in 2022 to scams — and it’s in the billions of dollars. LegitScript monitors internet and payments ecosystems for violative and brand-damaging behavior, including scams harming users on social media and other internet platforms. Read these top four tips for avoiding scams, and then download our comprehensive 27-page guide on the Top Six Consumer Scams Internet Platforms Should Watch Out For to learn more.
Consumers Lost $8.8 Billion to Scams in 2022
According to a recent report from the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network, consumers lost a record $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022. The biggest culprit? Identity theft. Then, imposter scams — followed by investment scams, business and job opportunities, and foreign money offers.
A fundamental part of the FTC’s mission is to protect consumers from fraud. Below are the commission’s top four tips to avoid losing money to fraud in 2023.
1. Scammers Pretend to Have a Connection with You
Scammers often pose as a person or entity that you’ve already established a relationship with — like a trusted business, a new romantic partner, or the government. They may steal copyrighted logos of official businesses, or use technology that changes the number on a person’s caller ID. They may use someone’s publicly available personal information to establish a false sense of trust by sending an email or texting a person’s cell phone.
Social media companies and other platforms can make this kind of behavior more difficult by requiring users to verify their identity when they claim to represent a well-known business or government agency.
2. They Prey on Emotions With a Problem or Opportunity
Oftentimes, scammers use either scare tactics or exciting opportunities to get people to act out of emotion rather than think calmly about something. They may send a text message telling people they owe the government money, or they may tell victims that they won a large sum of money. Nearly every scam has an overwhelming call to action — and it’s usually nefarious in nature.
Internet platforms can help users by educating them about this approach and encouraging them to flag the accounts of people offering opportunities that sound too good to be true.
3. Scammers Apply Pressure to Create A Sense of Urgency
Scam artists apply pressure to prevent victims from thinking through their requests. If someone owed a government entity like the IRS money, the agency would reach out via the proper channels to collect. Additionally, a bad actor knows their story isn’t foolproof and urges people to act, usually by way of sending money, before they can think through their requests. Platform users should be hesitant of anyone who has contacted them with a request for personal or financial information. If recipients of high-pressure tactics are uncertain about the validity of a request, they should ask a friend or family member for input before taking action.
4. They Typically Request You Pay Them a Certain Way
By now, nearly everyone is familiar with the “Nigerian Prince” who will pay you a handsome sum of money — if you pay him first. Likewise, a scammer may request victims pay them via a certain bank or wire transfer, or with a particular currency. These tactics make it nearly impossible to recoup lost money. Scammers generally prefer payment methods that are instantaneous and which allow for anonymity. It’s important to always be suspicious of anyone who only uses payment methods that can mask their identity.
Download The Top Six Consumer Scams Internet Platforms Should Watch Out For
Year after year, bad actors put a new spin on their old tricks. If you’re worried about protecting your platform in 2023, download our comprehensive guide covering the top six consumer scams.
In this 27-page guide for internet platforms, the Top Six Consumer Scams Internet Platforms Should Watch Out For, you’ll discover topics such as:
- Easy-money scams
- Romance scams
- Crowdfunding scams
- And many more