How to spot a social media scam.

We all love to be social and popular platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have capitalised on this to great success.


We stay connected with friends, follow the news around the world and even buy things. However, with this connectivity also comes vulnerability.

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Social media scams are becoming more popular as fraudsters are constantly looking for new ways to connect with active users, using sophisticated methods to gain trust and steel personal information. 

To help you avoid a con and to create awareness, we have put together a list of some of the most popular social media scams.

fake friends

Beware of connection requests from fake friends. Fraudsters sometimes create fake accounts using publicly available photos of real people and pretend to be someone you may know. This way, they gain access to your private posts and information, and may send you phishing links which take you to malicious sites.


These ‘free, fun services’ may appear innocent at first, however they come with hidden threats. Short quizzes promising to tell you your personality type, or which celebrity you are most romantically compatible with, usually come with terms and conditions which allow the data you enter to be harvested and sold to third parties.

romance scams

In these types of scams, the criminals prey on the victim’s need for an emotional connection. They create a fake profile with a picture perfect image in order to build a relationship and establish trust with the victim. As the relationship progresses, the scammers will start finding ways to ask for money…whether it’s for medical bills or visa processing fees in order to travel to visit the victim.

fake livestream or movie offers

Links, inviting you to live stream popular movies often go to websites that distribute malware, ask for personal information or in many instances request a credit card, stating it won’t be charged until after a free trial. Of course, the fraudsters’ only aim is to steal your personal details and/or your credit card information which will then be used for identity theft or social engineering.

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"More online scams are being found everyday, so always think twice and be safe online."

clickbait scams

This type of scam encourages users to click on an image, usually with a misleading, snappy headline, such as ‘You won’t believe this’’. Scammers want to reach the widest possible audience and by clicking the image, the unsuspecting user can unwittingly install malware onto their computer or be directed to a scam-related site.

Work from home or get-rich-quick scam

These types of scams may appear promising and attractive and very often ask for an upfront payment for registration, consultation or set-up fees. Once the money is paid, the fraudster disappears and the victim never hears back from them. Remember, if something seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t a good opportunity.


Knowledge is the best defence when it comes to staying safe online or on social media platforms. Always take time to consider your actions before responding to approaches on social media and be sure to safeguard your personal information.

If you have been a victim of social media scams, report it to the social media network via the reporting mechanism on the site or app.

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