Fraudsters took $ 770 million from people online in 2021, according to the FTC

If you like to scroll through social networks and buy something here or there – be especially careful. Last year, fraudsters took $ 770 million from people online, according to The Federal Trade Commission. Most of the messages came from online stores.

“About one in four people who reported losing money as a result of fraud last year said it started on social media,” said Emma Fletcher, a senior data researcher at the Federal Trade Commission.

Of the $ 770 million received, most went to investment fraud, in particular to counterfeit cryptocurrency investments.

Not far behind: romantic scams. It’s a bit like fishing.

“Once you’re attached to this person and you trust them, they just casually refuse,“ Oh, I really know how to invest. I can teach you to invest in cryptocurrency, ”Fletcher explained.

She says scammers tend to prefer cryptocurrency because it’s hard to get your money back.

“It’s a lot harder now when they ask people to transfer money for them,” Fletcher said.

Many people have reported online shopping scams, meaning that someone bought something and didn’t get what they paid for. Most reports say the product is sold on Facebook and Instagram.

“When they pay by credit card, which they often do, they have some protection,” Fletcher said.

There are a few things you can do to avoid such scams.

“If you receive a message from a friend about the possibility or urgent need for money – call them. Make sure it’s really them, ”Fletcher explained. “Their account can be very well hacked.”

Change your privacy settings so that only certain people can see your messages. This will reduce your chances of becoming a target. If you buy something online, do some research.

“Check the company, find its name, perhaps in words like scam or complaint,” Fletcher said.

If you have been deceived or found online, report it at the FTC.

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