Category: social media scam

The Instagram Money Flipping Scam

This scam was very common in 2019 and reappears occasionally, but fortunately a lot more people know this is a scam so it doesn’t spread as rapidly as previously.

The scam is most prevalent on Instagram in particular but also to a lesser degree on Facebook, Twitter and other social media and is known as money flipping.

The scammers advertise that they can flip your money – that is to change a small amount into a large amount in hours.  Often the offer is to add a zero to your account e.g. change $100 into $1000.

How does the scam work?

People are conned into believing this is possible by photos posted of people who had their money flipped, testimonies of people who’ve made a fortune this way etc.

Of course none of it is possible – it’s just a simple scam to catch greedy people.

You contact the scammer and they tell you to buy a Western Union card or Green Dot Moneypak card or some other pre-paid money card and load it with $100 or $200 or $500 etc. as you wish.

Then to get it flipped into $1,000 or $2,000 or $5,000 etc. you give them the card details so they can multiply your money but instead they simply empty your card into their account and your money is untraceably gone.

A surprisingly large number of people have been caught out by this scam and there are endless scammers trying it.

Instagram and the other social media networks are trying to remove the scammers but as soon as one account is deleted up pops another one.

If something is too good to be true – it almost certainly is a scam.

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Facebook and eBay Crackdown on Fake Reviews

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have looked into the problem of paid fake reviews and taken action.

Everyone involved with product and service reviews has known for a long time that there are Facebook groups where you can hire people to create positive or negative reviews, about your business or your competitors in business. A Daily Mail article suggested the cost is about £13 per fake review.

There are billions of pounds of spending each year potentially affected by online reviews, so this is big business and the fake reviews can make a big difference to some businesses.

Facebook and eBay are taking steps to crack down on these fake and misleading product reviews, following an advisory notice from the CMA. Both companies have signed agreements to better identify, investigate and respond to fake reviews.

Facebook has since removed 188 groups and disabled 24 user accounts and eBay banned 140 users.

Facebook has agreed to tighten up its procedures for identifying the fake reviews and the groups where people conduct such business and to introduce better systems to detect and remove fraudulent content.

EBay has improved its detection methods to better identify and block listings for the sale or trade of online reviews.

In the USA, the Federal Trade Commission has also been cracking down on fake reviews appearing on Amazon.

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Twitter Work at Home Scam

There is a common scam on Twitter you receive either a direct message or see a tweet that claims to offer easy ways to make money on Twitter.

If you follow this up – it leads to an e-book containing lots of ways to make money with no outlay.

You may choose to buy the e-book and hope it will give you the means to make money from home with little time or effort.

There may be no book – just a simple scam, but quite often there is a book which the victim receives and it’s not what was expected.

The guide to making money does contain a list of ways to make money on Twitter but they are either unsuitable or impossible for the vast majority of readers.

e.g. “create an information product and sell it on twitter”, or ”offer services on Twitter then use the Fiverr website to get the work done for you cheaply then charge a higher price to the victim” or “Get businesses to sponsor you for making tweets”.

Plus, the scammer has your name, address and credit card details and may well sell that information to other criminals who will steal from you.

Twitter scam entices users with opportunities to make money from home by tweeting about other people’s products. Those who fall for the scam pay a small sign-up fee to get a

“The end user ends up forking out money to do this work and they pay money to some rogue company,”. “But once you’ve paid for the CD, they now have your credit card number, and they can just keep charging that card each month.”

That is exactly what they do. Many victims report that after having purchased the starter kit, they were charged a hidden membership fee of $50 USD or more every month thereafter. In most cases, the victims had no choice but to cancel their credit cards.

The bogus messages appear as both direct messages and regular Twitter updates that attempt to induce users into visiting fraudulent websites punting supposed opportunities to make thousands for little or no effort. The dodgy messages link to supposed news articles on the opportunity.

Cleverly these articles would appear to come from (often made-up) news outlets near a prospective mark’s geographical location.

If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.

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Google Hangouts Scams

Google Hangouts is messaging, video chat, and VOIP features. It replaced three messaging products – Google Talk, Google+ Messenger and Hangouts.  Google has announced that it will be for replaced sometime in 2020.

Unfortunately, Google Hangouts can attract undesirables, because users are largely untraceable.

Sometimes, people with malicious intent ask you to use Hangouts because you cannot trace them. Hangouts provides them with a way to hide and be in control. If someone you just met online wants to switch to Hangouts for conversations, then be careful as they may be a scammer engaging in conversation as a prelude to the scam.

If you get an invite that seems suspicious, you can block and report that user by clicking on “reject” on the invite.

The scammers start by creating false profiles, typically on social media sites, dating sites etc. They find their victims and then correspond with a lot of people simultaneously using a pre-arranged script. They may ask for money for a  visa or tell you a sob story about being mugged or sick or have a dying relative – anything to get money from you.

These are standard scammer tactics – do not be fooled.

Be careful on Google Hangouts.

If you have any experiences with scammers on Hangouts – do let me know, by email.

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