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8+ Key Social Media Scamming Statistics in 2023 – Techlaze

Social media is meant to bring people together, but it has also created opportunities for scammers to take advantage of unsuspecting users. With more people spending time online especially after the pandemic, reports of fraud originating on social media have been rising rapidly.

It‘s important to be aware of the latest social media scam statistics to understand common techniques scammers use and how to protect yourself or your loved ones from becoming victims. This article will highlight key data and trends around social media scams and provide pro tips to avoid them in 2023.

Scope of the Problem

According to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) data, $930 million was lost to social media scams in 2022 – a dramatic increase from $770 million in 2021. With more users flocking to platforms like Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and Twitter, scammers have an ever-growing pool of targets.

The FTC received nearly 700,000 reports of social media fraud in 2022, while the FBI‘s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received over 800,000 complaints of online scams – many of which originated on social media.

However, these numbers likely represent only a fraction of actual incidents. IC3 estimates only 15% of victims report their losses, while the FTC puts their reporting rate at just 4.8%. The true impact of social media scams is exponentially higher than what‘s being reported.

Key Statistics on Social Media Scam Victims

  • 25% of reported fraud starts with a direct message on social media (FTC)
  • 16% of scams impersonate existing accounts to appear legitimate (FTC)
  • 95,000 people reported losses from social media scams in 2021 – double the 2020 figure (FTC)
  • Victims aged 18-39 are most likely to report social media scams (FTC)
  • Teenagers and young adults are 85% more likely to fall for online shopping scams (FTC)
  • Over 50% of 18-29 year olds have lost money to an online scam (Social Catfish)
  • $542 million was lost to romance scams in 2022, many starting on social media (FBI)

This data highlights how young, social media-savvy users are prime targets for scammers. FTC studies show younger people have lower scam awareness compared to seniors, who grew up more wary of frauds. Scammers exploit the openness and trusting nature of younger generations on social media.

Tactics Used in Social Media Scams

Scammers have evolved a variety of techniques to deceive their victims online:

  • Phishing – Malicious links pretend to be from trusted sources to steal login credentials and data
  • Romance scams – Scammers use fake profiles and build relationships to eventually ask for money
  • Tech support scams – Posing as IT experts and requesting remote access to devices to steal data/money
  • Purchase scams – Fake shopping posts offer deals on hot products, take payment but never deliver
  • Fake accounts – Imposters mimic profiles of real people and businesses to appear credible
  • Multilevel marketing – Pyramid schemes recruit people to make money recruiting others instead of selling products
  • Fake charities – Emotional posts call for donations to fake causes and pocket the money
  • Investment scams – Posts promising guaranteed returns but require an initial "investment" to get payouts

A Common theme across these scams is using social media to build trust before asking for money or data. Scammers exploit social proof and connections to seem legitimate.

Financial Impact of Social Media Scams

The numbers speak for themselves:

  • $770 million lost to social media scams in 2021 (FTC)
  • Median individual loss of $500 per social media scam (FTC)
  • Average loss of $3,000 for romance scams often starting on social media (FBI)
  • 42% increase in losses due to online scams from 2019 to 2020 (Pew Research)

For individual victims, the financial impact can be devastating – with losses ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars. For the elderly or vulnerable, these scams can wipe out life savings built over decades.

Beyond the money, social media scams also inflict severe emotional trauma. Victims deal with shame, self-blame, and severed relationships in cases of romance scams. Recovery can be very difficult.

Tips to Avoid Social Media Scams

The best protection is awareness and caution. Here are some expert tips to avoid scams online:

  • Limit personal info shared publicly and turn off targeted ads to minimize exposure
  • Don‘t accept friend requests from strangers – vet all profiles carefully.
  • Use reverse image search to check if photos are stolen from elsewhere.
  • Look for poor grammar, spelling and language – signs of foreign scammers.
  • Beware of suspicious links – don‘t click without verifying, especially shortened URLs.
  • Fact check emotional appeals for money and research charities before donating.
  • Never send money to online friends you haven‘t met, despite their story.
  • Avoid paying via gift cards, crypto or wire transfers which are hard to reverse.
  • Don‘t click on shopping ads or offers without researching site credibility.
  • Use privacy settings and limit profile visibility to only those you know.

Stay vigilant online and trust your instincts. If an offer seems too good to be true, it likely is. Verify requests for financial help even if they come from friends whose accounts may be compromised.

The best way to counter social media scams is through awareness and taking steps to protect yourself online. Share this advice with your friends and family, especially young social media users who need to develop their scam radar.

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Michael

Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.