Scam Prevention on Social Media

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How much of your day do you spend on social media?

As of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide amounted to 151 minutes per day, up from 147 minutes in the previous year.


Social media platforms are a combination of websites and smartphone apps that are a tool for people that are both in geometric proximity and those that are separated by great distance to share information. These digital communities share information on a range of topics such as political parties striving for governmental reformation to groups centered around passing interests such as science fiction.

Social media has great potential for good: such as driving traffic to your website, disseminating news updates, boosting sales and increasing brand awareness. Social media can be used to further the impact of misinformation.

Reports show that scams on social media are a problem for people of all ages, but the numbers are most striking for younger people. In the first six months of 2023, in reports of money lost to fraud by people 20-29, social media was the contact method more than 38% of the time. For people 18-19, that figure was 47%. The numbers decrease with age, consistent with generational differences in social media use. Social media: a golden goose for scammers (FTC)

What can be done to protect yourself? Check out these tips from the Federal Trade

  • Be aware that all social media platforms collect information and build a profile using your posts, likes and responses. Limit who can see your posts and information on social media. 
  • Urgency is often a warning sign. If a friend reaches out to you about an opportunity, take the time to verify and call them. Consider the what if scenario that their social account may have been compromised—especially if they ask you to pay by cryptocurrency, gift card, or wire transfer. That’s how scammers ask you to pay.
  • Romance scams often begin with someone approaching you on social media to start a friendship or romance, slow down. Read about romance scams. And never send money to someone you haven’t met in person.
  • Before you buy, check out the company. Search online for its name plus “scam” or “complaint.”

Do you enjoy story?

The Minnesota State government has posted some true stories about a social media scams. See if you can spot the trends to learn from.

The Guilford County Center has several upcoming classes on scam prevention. Attendance to a class will give you an opportunity to learn more research based solutions to preventing scams. Check out our calendar of events to learn more.

Supplemental resources:

Wells Fargo advice on scam prevention.

Better Business Bureau advice on scam prevention.

Charles Schwab advice on scam prevention.

If you have further questions please contact Jeffrey Cates, Digital Literacy Agent, Guilford County Center,, 336.641.2436