Beware These Social Media Scams in 2024

man using a computer at his home in Bucks County, PA

As of 2023, there are over 308 million social media users in the US alone. But as a result of the continued growth of social media usage, so too has the rise of social media scams and widespread fraud on these sites.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that over $2.7 billion has been lost as a result of social media data breaches and scams since 2021. Personal and financial information are particularly at risk, which can then be used to access online banking or credit card accounts, with scammers also taking out loans or applying for credit cards in your name.

Not only can scammers directly access your accounts by tricking you into handing over information, but they can also pose a more physical threat. Posting vacation pictures while you’re away from home can lead to individuals targeting your property, knowing you’re not there.

It’s vital to be mindful of what information you share online and with whom, particularly details that could be used against you. We’re here to help you learn more about safe social media practices and other cybersecurity tips that can keep you safe this year.


Common Techniques Used By Scammers


One of the most common social media scams is phishing. Scammers often use direct messages or emails to target individuals and trick them into handing over personal information.

You may get messages that contain links that take you out of the social media site to somewhere else, or hackers might pretend to be someone they’re not using fake profiles (otherwise known as catfishing).


Quizzes and Games

Interactive elements on some social media sites can be fronts for gathering personal information like birthdates, pet names, mother’s maiden name, or other information that’s often used in security questions or passwords.



A frequently used technique that hackers use is pretending to be someone they’re not, especially friends or family of genuine social media users. By creating fake accounts, scammers could extort thousands of dollars by impersonating others.

When it comes to social media safety, always be wary of users asking you for money or information, even if it’s someone you think you know personally. Confirm their identity in other ways, like asking in person or emailing them directly.



Scammers often use software and other digital tools to crawl social media sites and collect publicly available data like names, birthdays, locations, and relationship statuses. This data is then used to build profiles of possible victims for targeted scams.

Remember to never post personal information on social media sites like images of your vaccination card or forms you’ve filled out—this is an essential part of social media scam prevention and protecting your personal details.

Scammers use digital tools to crawl social media sites and collect publicly available data, which is then used to build profiles of possible victims for targeted scams.


Professional Exploitation

Social media scammers use professional information on your LinkedIn and other sites for targeted phishing, using your employer and location information to build a profile that replicates you.

LinkedIn reported that between January and June 2023, over 42 million fake accounts were detected and removed.


Types of Scams

Online Shopping

This is the most commonly reported type of social media scam, accounting for nearly 50% of all reported losses online. Undelivered goods such as clothing and electronics are typically advertised on sites like Facebook Marketplace and community buy-and-sell groups, where users make payments and no items are actually provided.



Encouraging users to make online investments, especially in cryptocurrency, is a scam that’s emerged in recent years on social media. Over half of those involved in investment scams in 2021 had the scam originate on a social media site, with many fake investment ads appearing on these sites.



Romance scams typically target older and more vulnerable individuals, especially those who may have recently lost their spouse or long term partner. These start with friend requests on social media sites, before developing conversations with targeted individuals.

These scams then progress to asking for money on sites like Facebook or Instagram, or other financial support like airline tickets or gift cards.


Contests and Giveaways

Some social media posts advertise rewards like gift cards for engaging with these posts. However, these prizes are not real and the real intent of these ads is to infect a device with malware.

After accumulating a large number of likes, these posts typically redirect users to harmful websites that contain malware or viruses that can later be used to access personal or financial information.

Avoid sharing sensitive information like your home address, vacation plans, or financial details online, especially if you choose to have a public account.


Protecting Yourself on Social Media

Avoiding social media scams is an ongoing process, but there are a number of ways that you can stay safer on these sites.

Adjusting your privacy settings on social media from public to private and setting a strong password with two-factor authentication are steps that everyone should be taking. Don’t use Facebook or Twitter to log into other apps or sites, as hackers can easily access those sites too if they manage to access your social profiles.

Update your apps frequently when security updates are available and recognize red flags that you might come across. Be cautious when receiving messages or opportunities from supposed friends online and verify any new friend requests you receive.

Scrutinize the authenticity of giveaways and competitions online, especially if you need to provide contact details. Avoid transferring money to individuals you’ve not personally met and report any suspicious activity on the platforms you’re using.

Try not to share sensitive information like your home address, vacation plans, or financial details online, especially if you choose to have a public account.


What To Do If You’re A Victim

If you find yourself a victim of a social media scam, immediately report it to the FTC and the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center, as well as the social media platforms you’re using.

Limit damage as much as possible by changing your passwords to something secure and different from other sites you use. Let family and friends know if your profile has been hacked, and monitor your bank accounts for any suspicious activity.


Stay Safe of Social Media

Using social media is a frequent part of many of our lives, sometimes on a daily basis. While these possible scams shouldn’t stop you from using social media sites, it’s vital to be aware of the potential problems you could come across.

Always be cautious about what you’re sharing and take proactive measures to protect your personal information on social media. It’s also important to share information with your personal network to spread awareness of social media scams, especially with vulnerable individuals in your life who may not be aware of attempts that hackers can use to access their information.

Learn more about cybersecurity and how you can protect yourself online this year with tips on our blog.