How to Identify a Scammer on Social Media

Scammers are getting more sophisticated these days, but there are several red flags to help you identify that someone is not who they appear to be on Facebook, Instagram, or other social media sites.


Scammer Red Flags

  • Their messages include a lot of grammar and spelling errors or just have weird sentence structure. If a scammer isn't a native English speaker, they may use poor spelling, strange and unnatural language, or awkward formatting.
  • It’s a brand new social media profile with little content or few friends. The average Facebook user has around 250 friends. If an account has few followers or is very new, it might be a scammer.

  • You get a friend request from someone with whom you thought you were already connected. Scammers create “cloned” profiles to impersonate your friends and contacts.

  • You receive a random direct message with a link. Never click on links or engage with unsolicited direct messages (DMs). This is how scammers trick you into going to fake websites or downloading malware onto your device.

  • You’re asked to send money online (via gift cards, wire transfers, payment apps, etc.) or invest in cryptocurrency. This is the #1 red flag that you’re dealing with a social media scammer.

  • Posts or ads promoting unbelievable deals. Low prices or hard-to-find items that are readily available are major warning signs of a scam. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Sites that offer good deals but are missing basic information (like shipping times and costs, the company’s address, and direct contact information).

  • The person insists on taking the conversation off social media and asks you to text them. This allows them to bypass the security measures provided on most social media sites (or continue the scam if their account gets reported and banned). 

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