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Media Smarts: Scams

Media Smarts

There are so many media scams of all kinds that we must be very wary and protect our money and our personal information. These include dating sites (catfishing), facebook ads, free gift scams, account cancelled scams, fake government messages (often by phone), stuck abroad scam, IQ scam and sadly there are many more.

Catfishing: Did you know that 1 in 5 relationships begins online? Scammers use this platform regularly to dupe someone who is looking for love. The ‘catfisher’ creates a false identity account and then establishes a relationship. Next step is they use the relationship to build trust and scam money. Ways to tell if you are being catfished: the person is too good to be true, they will not meet you in person and they are quick to cement the relationship.

Facebook ads: If the item’s price is too good to be true, it is not true. Is the seller reputable? Check the reviews. Look at the dimensions of the article. Can you return what you have bought? If the answer to any of these is not reassuring, do not order! These people will have your credit information.

Free gift scams: These ads are usually found on facebook and will offer you free gift cards but when you click them you will have to give them your personal information. This is what they are after! If they ask for your phone number, they may charge you data fees on your phone. Some will ask for your banking information to deposit your ‘free’ gift card. Alarm bells! They are likely intending on stealing from you.

Account cancelled scams: These scams usually arrive by email – therefore you should not give out your email address when asked for it in a store! The message may be that your facebook account is cancelled. If you give them your information, they will be able to hack your account AND all the people on your facebook account. Don’t reply.

Fake government messages: These calls and messages (all fake) are meant to intimidate you. The caller usually says that legal action is being taken against you. This scam is incredibly successful. You should never give your personal information when pressured. If they call, hang up. If they email, delete.

Stuck abroad scam: This scam is very cruel because it targets older people and often they say it is a grandchild in trouble. It appears as a message that may say, “I am stuck in Spain (or any country) and I had all my possessions stolen. Please send some money!” These scammers are sophisticated because they hack your account and steal your information. When they see that you have a loved one travelling in another country, they use that information to scam you. This one is extraordinarily successful, and a great deal of people have been tricked by it.

IQ scam: Again, this scam is found primarily on facebook. You are invited to test your IQ. Surprise! We are all geniuses. You are asked to give your information but NEVER give them anything to get your test score. It is a scam.

We spend a great deal of time on social media, so protect yourself, your personal information, and your money.