How social media scams are draining bank accounts of victims

From time to time, we encounter social media posts that tempt us to click on a link promising heavily discounted goods or a chance to win a lottery. Some individuals avoid such links, believing themselves to be too savvy to fall for online schemes. However, many still become victims of these social media scams, which continue to claim more victims annually than conventional crimes like robbery, burglary, homicides, and knife-related scams.

Interestingly, a majority of these scams are propagated through well-known social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook, all owned by Meta. Even TikTok, another online service, finds itself embroiled in controversy.

Despite the growing prevalence of these criminal activities on their platforms, these companies have not taken adequate measures to counteract them. This negligence on their part has inadvertently transformed their platforms into havens for major online criminals, who now disseminate malware-laden content through various posts.

An exception to this trend is X, formerly known as Twitter, which has taken a proactive stance against such criminal activity on its platform. Leveraging Artificial Intelligence technology, X effectively manages spam and thwarts fake scams masquerading as endorsements from celebrities. This strategic approach has proven successful, evident in the swift elimination of these scams, particularly after Elon Musk assumed control of the platform, preventing substantial harm.

Contrastingly, Meta has not adopted similar strategies, resulting in an alarming estimate of 1.1 million UK citizens falling victim to these scams in 2022 and 2023.

In a survey conducted by Lloyd’s in early 2023, losses exceeding £300 million were attributed to scams originating from Facebook and TikTok. This sum could escalate even further if the true extent of unreported crimes were revealed.

It is essential to bear in mind that once ensnared in these scams, recovering lost funds is an arduous task, often futile. Only in exceptional cases can law enforcement aid in recovering lost funds; otherwise, the drained finances remain irretrievable.

So, can the blame for these crimes be squarely placed on the social media platforms themselves?

In truth, this attribution is complicated. All these companies absolve themselves of responsibility through terms and conditions outlined in the fine print, which typically goes unnoticed during the initial signup process.

What then, is the solution?

Remaining vigilant is crucial. One must exercise caution when encountering dubious posts, avoid clicking on links from unfamiliar sources, particularly profiles using images of attractive individuals. Similarly, if a persistent pop-up plagues a post or if bank account details are requested for payment transfers, these are clear indicators of potential scams that should be avoided.

Naveen Goud
Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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