How to avoid scams on Facebook and social media

With billions of people on social media every day, scammers create fake profiles and pages to trick people with giveaways, survey scams, misleading product listings, and more to steal your money, personal info, or both.

When you know how to spot a scam, you can proactively protect yourself from the most common types of Facebook scams and other tricks by social media scammers.

Recognize social media and Facebook scams

In the past 2 years alone, the FTC reports people on social media have lost $2.7 billion to internet scams on Facebook, TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms. Before you share personal info or send money to someone you don’t know, take an extra minute to ask yourself if it’s a scam. When you know the most common types of scams on social media, you can recognize them before they happen.

Giveaway scams
Fake giveaways are a common Facebook scam, and they’ve also spread to other social media platforms. 

Scammers create fake accounts or pages posing as real companies. They post giveaways or sweepstakes, and they’ll even use popular hashtags to attract more people and make their posts look convincing. 

It’s all part of the scam. To enter the “giveaway,” you usually need to pay an entry fee or share personal info. A scammer might even trick you into downloading an app that gives them access to your computer or account by stealing your username and password.

There are real sweepstakes and giveaways on social media, but you should never have to pay money or share your username or password to enter. For any official Cash App giveaway, you never need to pay to participate. Also, Cash App will never ask for your login code.

Money flip scams

If you’ve ever received a message from someone on social media promising huge, guaranteed returns if you send them some money, it was probably a money flip scam.  

On Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms, scammers make posts and send messages that claim they can double or triple your initial “investment” in a short period of time. If it sounds too good to be true—it’s because it is. It’s best to ignore or block these messages.

They might share “proof,” like screenshots of high bank balances or photos of luxury cars and houses, but they’re all fake. If you send them money with Cash App or another banking app, they’ll usually ask you for more after they think you trust them, and then they can disappear with your money.

Facebook marketplace scams and reseller fraud
On Facebook Marketplace and other reseller platforms, scammers get people’s attention with cheap prices for things that usually aren’t real. If you contact them, they try to take the conversation off the platform so that it’s harder for any customer support teams to help you if you get scammed.

These types of scammers usually ask you to pay upfront by sending a gift card or money from a banking app like Cash App to “reserve” the item. Since most marketplace and reseller platforms don’t cover payments made outside of their website or app, they want you to pay them in other ways.

Also, Facebook Marketplace scams and reseller fraud can target sellers too. They might pretend to be interested in something you’re selling and send you a check that never clears. They also might get the item and overpay on purpose. They do this so they can ask for a refund and ultimately never pay for the item.

Protect yourself from scams on Facebook and social media

Here are a few ways to protect yourself from Facebook scams and other social media platforms:

  • Add security to your account: Use a strong, unique password on your social media accounts and change it regularly. If two-factor authentication is available for your account, use it to keep your info secure.
  • Monitor your activity: Turn on notifications in your account settings for whenever someone tries to log in from a new browser, device, or IP address. 
  • Add backup contact information: Many social media platforms let you add a phone number or secondary email address to your account. Keep this info current so you can reclaim your account if it ever gets hacked.
  • Avoid clicking on suspicious links: Social media scammers often send links to websites you’ve never heard of. They also often use bad grammar and make spelling mistakes. If you get a message that doesn’t sound right with a suspicious link, report it.
  • Be careful with friend requests: Especially on Facebook, it’s safer to only accept requests from people you know. Also, when you get a request, make sure it’s not a duplicate or fake account. Scammers often pretend to be people you know by creating similar accounts. 
  • Ignore offers that sound too good to be true: “Guaranteed” offers or unusually good deals are likely a Facebook scam, money flip, or the start of reseller fraud. If it feels sketchy, it probably is.
  • Never share sensitive info with strangers: Before you send money or any personal details to someone, including your Social Security number, especially someone you haven’t met, make sure you know who you’re talking to. 
  • Trust yourself and put your safety first: If you’re selling something on Facebook Marketplace or another platform, plan to meet in a public area. If something feels off with the person you’re talking to, trust your instincts.  
  • Use additional security features for your money: If your apps have extra security features, turning them on can help keep your money safe. For example, Cash App has login notifications, additional coverage when sending money, and other security features to keep you and your money secure. 

What to do if you’ve been scammed

Getting scammed is frustrating, but there are steps you can take to limit the effect of Facebook scams and other scams on social media.

  1. Report the scam: If you think you might be talking to a scammer, stop communicating with them and report the profile. You might be able to stop the scam early and stay safe.
  2. Remember your other accounts: If you sent money to a scammer through your bank account or a payment app like Cash App, report the scam to them, as well. Sometimes, they can help get your money back.
  3. Change your password: If you still have access to your account, change your password to a unique one. If you don’t have access, contact customer support to recover your account.
  4. File reports: If your identity has been stolen by a scammer, report it to the FTC. You can also file a report with your local police department or the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

Get help avoiding social media scams with Cash App

Getting scammed is frustrating, but it happens to millions of people every year. Recognizing the signs of common Facebook scams and other types of scams on social media can help keep you safe online and prevent scams before they happen.

Before sending a payment, verify and double-check all recipient info to confirm you’re sending money to the right person. Cash App also has advanced security features that help make your account more secure. You can go to your account settings to turn on these security features that help protect your money.

  • Security Lock: Require your fingerprint, face, or PIN to move money or unlock the app.
  • Sync contacts: Reduce scam requests by only allowing your contacts to request money from you.
  • Notifications: Get real-time alerts for activity on your account, new device logins, and more.