BBB warns of holiday social media scams


By John North

Better Business Bureau

Social media has a big impact on our everyday lives, especially in today’s society. Whether you’re looking at what friends are up to, catching up on current events or even shopping this holiday season, be careful what you click on.

Scammers are in full force this holiday season. Through social media, it makes it harder to know whether something is legitimate or not. To keep yourself safe during the holiday, Better Business Bureau offers these tips for avoiding holiday social media scams:

• Do your research into companies before you move forward with purchases to make sure they’re legitimate.

• Watch out for fake giveaways. Scammers will make social media posts that offer people the most popular “trending” toys of the season as a prize for performing some action. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

• Beware of fake surveys. Scammers will create shopping surveys that offer great rewards in exchange for participation. Be vigilant and don’t click on anything if you’re unsure.

• Beware of apps that seem eerily close to a major brand. Many of these fake apps are present in multiple app stores, creating a major risk to shoppers, and criminals are using social media to promote these dangerous apps. Be sure the link is connected directly to the official brand’s website or social media platforms before you click.

• Keep in mind many scammers leverage popular hashtags to make sure their posts are seen by as wide an audience as possible. Don’t trust a post just because it’s trending.

• Look for incorrect spelling or bad grammar. This is a sign of a scammer.

• Get to know a social media platform’s policy before using it. If you’re clear on the platform’s policies and procedures, you’ll be less likely to fall for correspondence from a scammer.

• Consider making your social media profile private, allowing only people you know to view it.

• Never provide information online unless the website is legitimate, secure and encrypted. Look for the “https://” in the URL and a locked padlock on the address bar. Only give out information online you’re willing to share with the entire world.

• Use two-factor authentication.

• Create secure passwords that aren’t easily guessed. Don’t share them with strangers.

• Call the company immediately at its publically-listed phone number if you’re concerned about a message you received. Never trust the phone number or email address given in a message.

• Avoid clicking on pop-up messages, shortened URLs, posts that contain content that seems shocking, scandalous or too good to be true, attachments in unsolicited messages. Clicking could allow a scammer to install malware on your computer.

• Verify the person you’re dealing with is who they claim to be. Contact a friend or family member who could confirm this person’s story or try contacting the real person at a phone number you know is correct.

• Don’t be rushed into sending money immediately or secretly, especially if he or she is requesting a gift card, wire transfer or other untraceable form of payment. If you do send money, be sure you use a credit card. In case of fraudulent activity, your credit card company will help you resolve the dispute.

If you are a victim of a social media scam, stop all contact with the scammer and report the matter to the Federal Trade Commission (, FBI ( and BBB’s Scam Tracker at

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