It looks like 2021 was a huge year for social media scammers.
The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reported that social media scammers were able to rake about USD770 million (around Php39.3 billion) from more than 95,000 people last year. That’s significantly larger than the 2020’s USD258 million figure.
FTC didn’t detail the reason, but it did say that the said scams have “soared” over the last five years. The commission’s data also reveals bogus cryptocurrency investment scams have seen a “massive surge”, amounting to a third of the total number, or around USD285 million.
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The FTC also reported that romance scams have “clime to record highs in recent years.” As per the commission, such scams usually start with a simple friend request from a stranger, sweet talks ensue, which will lead to a request for money.
Other large scams involve online shopping with a lot of undelivered goods.
Being two of the biggest social media platforms in the world, it’s no surprise that Facebook and Instagram are the only ones mentioned in the report. It’s said that more than a third of the romance scam victims claim the incident started on the said platforms.
It’s also said that undelivered goods incidents are rampant on the Meta-owned platforms
In a statement, a Meta spokesperson said that they “put significant resources towards tackling this kind of fraud and abuse,”
“We also go beyond suspending and deleting accounts, Pages, and ads. We take legal action against those responsible when we can and always encourage people to report this behavior when they see it.”, the spokesperson added.
The FTC recommends that users opt-out of targetted advertising, double-check their device’s privacy settings, and be on the lookout for messages that asks for money.