Guest Post: Almost 50% of social media users have been victims of online shopping scams, says survey

While many online shops are legitimate, scammers often take advantage of the anonymous nature of the internet to exploit unsuspecting victims by setting up fake ones. And with the rise of social media e-commerce, shopping scams are increasingly taking place on social platforms.

According to the data presented by the Atlas VPN team, based on the GoodFirms online survey, 47% of social media users have fallen victim to shopping scams before. 

Social media sites offer an easy and low-cost way to set up fake online shops. With the help of social media ads, these scam schemes can reach millions of consumers worldwide.

Phishing link and gift card scams are also frequent fraud schemes that end up costing social media users money or their data. In fact, 37% of surveyees reported being a victim of each of the scam types. 

In phishing link scams, cybercriminals send malicious URLs to potential victims via social media designed to steal personal data or infect the victim’s device with malware. Meanwhile, gift card schemes involve cybercriminals offering fake gift cards in exchange for money or personal information. 

Additionally, over 33% of surveyed social media users reported being victims of help scams. In help scams, cybercriminals pretend to be acquaintances of their potential victims that happen to be in an emergency situation. To help solve the emergency situation, they ask for money. Fraudsters may also impersonate charitable organizations and ask for donations.

Other scams social media users frequently fall for include job scams (30%), targeted advertising scams (27%), cloned and hacked account scams (23%), investment scams(17%), lottery scams (13%), impersonation with fake account scams (13%), quiz and polling scams (7%), romance scams (7%), and fake ticket scams (2%).

While social media scam techniques may vary, the end goal is typically the same. The fraudsters hope to score the victim’s money, personal data, or both. 

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