Social media scams continue despite fraud squad warnings

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Romance and finances – that makes the heart beat faster.

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And that seems to be at the root of most social media scams these days: love or money.

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Despite repeated warnings from fraud police and constant news stories about social media scams, the cupping continues.

The pandemic has fueled more online shopping and banking, and created new ways to scam the unwary.

In the US, according to a Gallop poll, OOne in four has been a victim of cybercrime.

And there are always new victims for old scams.

Marketplace overpayment is so common it’s listed on Tech Solutions’ top Facebook scams, but it happened to a family member just last month.

A buyer said he was interested in buying Furniture that the family member had for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

The prospective buyer sent a check picture for the amount requested — plus an additional $500. with a polite request to please wire the extra money to pay the carrier who would collect the pieces of furniture.

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The check picture was sent to the family member’s bank for deposit and luckily the bank caught the scam and froze their account.

If the bank hadn’t done this, they would have forwarded the $500 to a fake mover immediately, without waiting to see if the buyer’s check was real.

It was not. The check would have bounced and she would have had the $500 out of her own pocket.

All the red flags were there – including the information that the carrier picking up the furniture would accept e-payment in gift cards. However, being an honest person herself, this adult didn’t even think that the transaction could be suspicious.

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Overpayment fraud is detailed by the Canadian Bankers Association in their online guide to avoiding check fraud.

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In another case, a highly savvy media figure was tricked into believing that she had received a legitimate communication from her boss asking for help sending gift cards to a handful of corporate clients.

This scam was more complex and a little more disturbing as the scammers obviously had a lot of inside information.

Of course, we post all of the inside information on social media — pictures of family, friends, work, parks, favorite restaurants, vacation spots — without even thinking about it.

“My boss was just in Toronto and asked me to send gift certificates to the four people he just met with,” said the media insider, who prefers to remain anonymous.

“I asked if I could deal the cards through the usual channels and I figured it would all go up and up.

“Everything was done with a sense of urgency. You don’t question your boss.”

As a rule of thumb, gift cards are almost always a sign of fraud as they allow money to be transferred without a paper trail.

“If you’re being honest, assume others are too,” she said.

She lost several hundred dollars. Experience points to the need to be vigilant in all electronic communications.

“These people are devilish, clever and clever.”

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