How to Protect Yourself From Scams on Social Media

With more than 314 million Americans having a social media presence, networking sites have become a lucrative playground for scammers to find victims.

This hardly comes as a surprise when you consider the amount of money siphoned from ordinary citizens via these platforms. Since 2021, Americans have lost 2.7 billion due to scams associated with social media—far higher than all other types of contact methods, including websites, phone calls, and emails.

What kind of scams do you stand to encounter on networking sites? More importantly, how can you remain safe while using them? Keep reading to find the answers.

Prevalent Fraud on Social Media

Scammers can be surprisingly creative and crafty with the schemes they deploy to dupe innocent victims.

But many of their tactics usually fall under one of the following deceptive activities.

  • Hard-to-Resist Product Offers

Once-in-a-lifetime deals and limited-time discounts are common bait criminals use to steal social media users’ hard-earned money.

You will often find such promotional posts shared among your network or advertised on various platforms. Sometimes, swindlers might reach out to you directly via DMs, too, offering exclusive deals and rock-bottom prices.

  • Investment Fraud

Social media swindlers can use crypto projects, pyramid schemes, business opportunities, and a variety of other fake investments to get your attention. Some might even flaunt well-known names to win trust and build credibility.

Above-average returns and vague information are clear red flags that could give away these schemes.

  • Romance Scams

Many people have met their life partners on social media. But you must be careful when falling for strangers online.

Reports show that scammers frequently feign love to lure people into phishing and financial fraud.  

  • Fraudulent Charities

Many deceptive individuals take advantage of natural disasters and social calamities to defraud social media users. A good example is the countless fake charities and campaigns that solicited donations on networking platforms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Incidents of using deepfake to simulate celebrity endorsements have also increased in recent times.

  • Fake Jobs

Fraudsters could impersonate reputable companies or set up their own fake ones to attract job seekers into financial scams.

Asking for an upfront fee to process applications is a widely used trick to swindle money in such frauds. Some are known to phish for personal information, promising guaranteed jobs.

  • Dubious Surveys and Competitions

These are typically related to data and financial theft. Fake surveys, for instance, could trick you into revealing confidential information, including social security numbers and dates of birth, resulting in identity theft.

Gathering data related to security questions, such as your high school name, first pet, and first car, is also common. By revealing these, you could give criminals easy access to your online accounts.

  • Friends-in-Distress Fraud

Once a scammer hacks into a social media account, they could reach out to its owners’ connections to defraud them with impersonation scams.

They may, for example, pretend to be in financial trouble and solicit money via direct messages.

Protecting Yourself From Social Media Scams: What You Need to Know

What specific measures can help you avoid fraudulent advances on networking platforms? Here are our top tips.

  • Be Skeptical

The truth is, you can’t believe everything you see online, even when it is shared by trusted sources. So, you must never be hasty to trust anything that turns up on your social media feed or DMs.

Always rely on your own research to verify information. For instance, run a background check on Nuwber to confirm details of unknown sellers before purchasing something from them.

If you find an investment opportunity on a networking site, learn more about the business and the project to make an informed decision.

And when you receive an unexpected DM from a friend asking for financial help, always contact them directly on their regular phone number to confirm the message’s authenticity.

  • Think Twice Before Sharing

The information you give away on profile bios, social media posts, and comments can all make you a target for a fraudulent scheme.

Therefore, mindful sharing is critical for your privacy and safety online.

In addition, be careful of phishing attacks. These can steal your PII using various tricks, from fake surveys to “reactivate your account” emails that mimic social media platforms.

  • Limit Public Access to Your Profile

Many networking sites provide privacy features to control who can view your profile and posts or send DMs and invitations to connect.

These can help you ward off unwanted trouble and limit your engagement on the platform to those you know and trust.

  • Use Password Protection

Unique and strong passwords are essential for safeguarding social media accounts from account takeovers and identity theft.

Avoid assigning the same username and password for several platforms. This practice will help you prevent multiple breaches in the event of a single credential theft.

Also, make use of multi-factor authentication options. These act as a secondary defensive barrier alongside passwords.

  • Ignore Unverified Links

Malicious links found on social media posts, ads, and DMs can phish for personal data or download malware. So, they are best ignored.

Sometimes, they could be part of impersonation scams where criminals mimic individuals or organizations known to you. In such instances, there are certain measures you can take to avoid getting duped.

Start by looking for red flags, such as greetings and phrases that may seem unusual for the relevant person. You should also inspect their social media profile to verify it is their official account. Newly opened accounts with little to no activities are often telltale signs of a fake profile.

  • Prevent Data Tracking

Many social media platforms collect user data, which can expose you to scams when compromised.

Turning off the data-collecting options in your Account Settings is an important step for preventing this. Another measure you can take is deleting cookies on your browser.


Today, social media is a widely used contact method for scams in the US. So, taking adequate precautions to ensure your safety on networking sites is imperative if you want to protect yourself from common swindles.

Always be skeptical about what you see online and think twice before sharing personal information that could compromise your safety. Protect your accounts by adopting secure passwords and limiting your profiles’ public visibility. In addition, be careful with unverified links and prevent platforms from collecting your data.

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