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3 social media money scams you need to watch out for

Jeanie Ahn
Senior Producer/Reporter

Whether we “like” it or not, more and more of our parents are joining us on social media. Many of them are signing up to monitor our status updates, but before you block them you might want to warn them about the latest social media money scams. “The most vulnerable are those 50+ for these social media online scams,” says AARP’s outreach director, Maggie Castro-Stevens. She joined us in our studios to highlight some of the latest you need to watch out for.

Coupon scams

Each year there are 300 billion fake coupons mocked up to trick you into clicking. On Facebook you might’ve seen a $200 Nordstrom gift card  or a $100 coupon from Lowe’s. The coupons look legitimate because they’re mocked up with official logos and professional graphics.

“It’s unlikely that businesses offer coupons for triple-digit savings, free vacations -- and a sure bet that if they do, it won’t be on social media,” says Castro-Stevens.

The scammers will often prompt you to pass the fake coupon to your friends, ask you to enter your personal information, or even purchase the coupon. But beware that clicking the link to redeem the discount could lead to identity fraud or malware on your computer.

How can you tell what’s real and what’s not? If an online coupon is legit, it will likely be living on the company’s website. Also try searching for the coupon online with the word “scam” and see what comes up, says Castro-Stevens. The AARP’s fraud network also recommends checking the Coupon Information Center for a running list of fake coupons.

Facebook profile viewer tracking

Want to see if your ex, your boss, or your frenemy has been checking your profile? Well, that’s what fraudsters are banking on for this scam. But unlike LinkedIn, there is no program or premium you can pay to track your audience. In fact, this is completely against Facebook’s policy and its website specifically states: “If you come across an app that says it can show you who’s viewing your profile or posts, please report the app.” Clicking on this link can lead you to a page that asks you to enter your personal information, or even download malware onto your computer. Depending on what you download, the scammers can use the information to steal from not only you, but your friends, too.

Phishing emails about closed accounts

When scammers are phishing, they pose as a legitimate company in an attempt to get your personal information or your password. In this scam, you’ll get an email that looks like it’s been sent by a social media platform like Twitter with a message alert that says you need to reactivate your account because it’s been cancelled or closed. In order to reinstate your account, it will direct you to click on a link or download an attachment. Doing so can result in malware or you may be compromising the security of other personal accounts where you use the same login.

AARP recommends you delete an email like that right away and check the official support page of the social media platform where you think your account may have been compromised. Reach out directly to find out if something is amiss.

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