Four social media scams to avoid in 2024

One downside to living so much of our lives on online today, is the prevalence of scams. We highlight four of the biggest social media scams to avoid in 2024.

These days, hackers can do more than try to make you download malware onto your compute; there’s been a huge boom in cybercriminals using social media platforms to steal people’s data and money.  

Trevor Cooke, the online privacy expert at EarthWeb, discusses the four main social media scams trying to catch you out in 2024 – and how you can avoid them.

1) The too good to be true job offer

Scammers sometimes pose as recruiters, presenting attractive job openings with high salaries, often for remote work opportunities so they have an excuse not to meet you in person. What they’re really after is your personal information (for example, social security number and address) which they can use to commit identity fraud.

Alternatively, they may request payment for fictional application fees, background checks, or equipment purchases – all of which you’ll never be able to get back when they ghost you. 

Another trick scammers use is to send you a large check, asking you to deposit it and return some money to them. Of course, the cheque they gave you will bounce, meaning you get nothing while the money you ‘returned’ to them disappears into their pockets. 

Always research company names on the BBB (Better Business Bureau) website and read reviews on sites like ZipRecruiter. If a company is legitimate, it will have an easily traceable footprint on the web, and it will be registered with the government.

2) The shady quizzes

Steer clear of intelligence tests and avoid those offering to determine your personality – in fact, you should avoid as many online quizzes as you can! This is because the terms you agree to in order to use the website or complete the quiz may include permission to use and sell your data to third parties.  

Also beware if a question is too personal or if it sounds like a security question, as these ‘quizzes’ are often phishing scams aiming to get your personal information to gain access to your bank account. Always report suspicious quizzes on social media and quickly leave the page. 

3) The crypto conmen

You may see an advert or receive a direct message from someone who offers you ways to make huge sums by investing or dealing in cryptocurrency. They may claim to be a successful authority and give you some (made-up) claims about how much money they’ve made. You can usually tell if these people are conning you by taking notice of whether they only talk about the potential gains of these investments while ignoring the risks. 

Before giving any information or sending money, check the DFI (Department of Financial Institutions) website to ensure the company’s validity.

4) The online dating catfishers

A stranger may send you a personal message or friend request out of the blue. They’ll try to spark a romance between you, before asking you to send money, for example, due to a health issue or financial crisis).

These so-called ‘catfishers’ often use the pictures of unsuspecting, completely unrelated people to con you into believing they’re someone else, then try to play on your sympathy to wring as much money out of you as possible. Don’t be fooled; they’ll ghost you as soon as you tell them you’re not interested in sending cash.

Avoid scams like these and be safe online

There are internet security companies who list the latest social media scams on their sites. If you trust no one until you’ve checked them out, you’ll be safer by far.

Author: Trevor Cooke is the online privacy expert at EarthWeb