15 Tricky Social Media Scams That Could Rob You Blind

Are you unknowingly falling prey to these sneaky social media cons?
Updated May 8, 2024
Fact checked
Women looking at laptop with surprised expressions

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Social media can be a wonderful tool for connection, socialization, business and career growth, and more. However, good intentions are often taken advantage of by creative scammers.

While many people are aware of more obvious scams, hackers and digital criminals get more crafty by the day. 

The best way to prevent getting scammed or hacked is awareness — keep reading to stay in the loop of the most recent and popular tricks so you can protect your wealth.

If you’re over 50, take advantage of massive discounts and financial resources

Over 50? Join AARP today — because if you’re not a member you could be missing out on huge perks. When you start your membership today, you can get discounts on things like travel, meal deliveries, eyeglasses, prescriptions that aren’t covered by insurance and more.

How to become a member today:

  • Go here, select your free gift, and click “Join Today”
  • Create your account (important!) by answering a few simple questions
  • Start enjoying your discounts and perks!

Important: Start your membership by creating an account here and filling in all of the information (Do not skip this step!) Doing so will allow you to take up 25% off your AARP membership, making it just $12 per year with auto-renewal.

Become an AARP member now

Personality quizzes

Mediteraneo/Adobe parents having fun with their boy

Have you ever taken a fun Facebook personality quiz to find out what character you are, what the theme of your year is, or something similar? Odds are, that was a way to scam you out of information.

Some tests are harmless, but many may be farming you for personal data. If the test asks common security questions, like your grandmother’s name, the name of your high school, or other personal information, it could be a scam to get access to your bank account.

Impersonating friends and family

Prostock-studio/Adobe Bussinessman typing on his laptop

Many of us use direct messaging to communicate with our family and friends. However, it’s here that a lot of scams take place.

One of the more sinister, yet easy to fall for, tricks hackers use is to impersonate a close family or friend. 

After creating a fake profile with a matching picture and almost identical username, they’ll message you, asking for money or passwords. 

Always click on their account to verify it’s the person you think it is. If not, report and block them immediately.

Pretending to flirt

Pixel-Shot/Adobe woman dating fake boyfriend online

Not all scammers will try impersonating someone. Instead, they’ll approach you as a stranger in your messages, using a tactic called social engineering, in which they manipulate your emotions to get one over on you.

This can involve several tricks, including flirting with and trying to woo you. Be incredibly cautious of strangers messaging you with a romantic pretense, as they could be trying to bait you into sending them money, revealing security information, and more.

Resolve $10,000 or more of your debt

Credit card debt is suffocating. It constantly weighs on your mind and controls every choice you make. You can end up emotionally and even physically drained from it. And even though you make regular payments, it feels like you can never make any progress because of the interest.

National Debt Relief could help you resolve your credit card debt with an affordable plan that works for you. Just tell them your situation, then find out your debt relief options.1

How to get National Debt Relief to help you resolve your debt: Sign up for a free debt assessment here. (Do not skip this step!) By signing up for a free assessment, National Debt Relief can assist you in settling your debt, but only if you schedule the assessment.

Try it

Impersonating brands

fizkes/Adobe Upset confused African woman holding cellphone having problem with phone

Scammers get very creative when trying to steal your money or information. One tactic many digital thieves use is pretending to be a popular brand.

If the scammer knows you frequently shop with the brand, they may ask you for information about resetting your account password, a payment, a discrepancy, etc. 

Never exchange sensitive information like this over unencrypted platforms. Legitimate brands will have privately secured channels for dealing with account and payment-related issues.

False advertising and ecommerce

fizkes/Adobe couple upset about online fraud

Many social media platforms now have shopping tabs where users can buy items directly from businesses on the site. However, this is an open invitation for scammers.

These scammers won’t try to lure your credit card number from you. Instead, they’ll advertise products on their pages. 

Sometimes, you may receive an item that looks nothing like what you paid for. Other times, the product never existed. If you try to contact them about your money, they’ll block you, delete your comments, etc.

Fake job listings

Graphicroyalty/Adobe confused businesswoman

Career-oriented social media platforms like LinkedIn or Indeed aren’t free from scams. It’s too easy to create a legitimate-looking job listing on the site, scamming people out of time and money.

Common scams include getting personal information, like bank routing numbers, during the “onboarding” process. Other times, they’ll send victims illegitimate checks or payments and request them to wire part of it back before it bounces.

Fraudulent charities

Graphicroyalty/Adobe businesswoman annoyed by online problem

Scammers know how to prey on people’s sympathies and emotions. As such, illegitimate charities are a common tool they use to rip people off.

Some scammers set up entire sites, collecting account information, data, money, and more, spreading their plea for aid across social media platforms. 

Look out for GoFundMe fundraisers, too. While the platform strives to curtail scammers, it can’t prevent them altogether.

Not every charity on the site is legitimate, and once they have your money, the scammer can do whatever they’d like with it. 

Hijacked friends and family

Fabio/Adobe elderly couple getting bad news

Clever scammers can hit multiple targets with one attack. They may launch a phishing attack on your friends or family, obtain information that allows them to hack their accounts, and set their sights on you next.

Unlike fake accounts, these attacks come from the profiles of people you know. Look out for odd or out-of-character communication, requests for money or information, and so on. 

The second you get suspicious, call or meet up with them in person to confirm if it’s them or not.


JENOCHE/Adobe woman in a phone call while sitting on a sofa

Not all scammers aim to get money or personal information from you. Some may just want attention, such as catfishers.

Some catfishers will cheat you out of money, but some may just be using a fake identity to lure you into a virtual relationship. 

Again, be incredibly wary when talking to strangers on social media unless you can confirm their identity and intentions legitimately.

Earn cash back on everyday purchases with this rare account

Want to earn cash back on your everyday purchases without using a credit card? With the Discover®️ Cashback Debit Checking account (member FDIC), you can earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in debit card purchases each month!2

With no credit check to apply and no monthly fees to worry about, you can earn nearly passive income on purchases you’re making anyway — up to an extra $360 a year!

This rare checking account has other great perks too, like access to your paycheck up to 2 days early with Early Pay, no minimum deposit or monthly balance requirements, over 60K fee-free ATMs, and the ability to add cash to your account at Walmart stores nationwide.

Don’t leave money on the table — it only takes minutes to apply and it won’t impact your credit score.

Apply for a Discover Cashback Checking account today

Get-rich-quick schemes

LIGHTFIELDSTUDIOS/Adobe stressed senior man in casual clothes

One of the more tempting social media scams is people offering you sums of money or ways to earn tons of cash instantly.

Whether they’re claiming you won a giveaway or trying to recruit you into a pyramid scheme, if an offer seems too good to be true, trust that it is. 

If you did enter a giveaway, verify that the account contacting you is hosting it, usually through a verified checkmark.

Deleted account

DrobotDean/Adobe woman wearing white shirt and bluetooth earphones

Some scammers use social media as a pretense to trick you out of your personal information. Finding someone’s email or phone number from their account information is easy enough.

With your contact information in tow, they’ll text or email you saying your account is being deleted, whether by request or termination. 

They’ll provide a link to dispute the claim or cancel the request, get you to enter your login information, and then get full access to your account.

Shortened URLs

PRPicturesProduction/Adobe male worker writing email on notebook

Many people know basic cyber security tips, like not clicking sketchy-looking links. However, scammers get more creative as we get smarter and more aware.

Scammers have started to shorten or hide URLs in their direct messages, which may lead you to believe it’s safe to click on. 

Curtail these hackers’ attempts by using URL lengtheners before opening any link or just steer clear of strange, unknown links altogether.

Fake mural scam

Krakenimages.com/Adobe brunette woman working at hotel

Scammers are often experts on human impulses and urges, exploiting them to take advantage of unsuspecting victims through increasingly creative lures. One innovative new scam involves people asking if they can use your account as inspiration for a mural.

They’ll offer you payment in exchange for your likeness, sending you a check or digital payment and then requesting some of it back, at which point their check bounces — after you’ve already sent them your money. 

They may also just request personal information they could use to hack into your accounts.

Zelle Pay scams

Prostock-studio/Adobe Mature man squinting using mobile phone

Many people use social media platforms like Facebook Marketplace to sell unwanted items directly. However, this is a breeding ground for scammers. 

Scroll through Marketplace, and you’ll find tons of listings stating they won’t accept Zelle Pay. This is because of the creative trick scammers have developed using the guise of the popular payment app.

They’ll ask for your email to send payment, only to send a realistic-looking but fake confirmation email. Depending on the scammer, they’ll either get you to put in your account information or claim they overpaid you and ask for part of their money back.

Claimed overpay scam

Paolese/Adobe man calling customer service after unjustified costs complain

A favorite trick amongst scammers is to claim they overpaid you or manipulate e-pay platforms to make it look like they’ve paid you when they haven’t.

This is common on Facebook Marketplace and other social media-based marketplaces. They’ll either send fraudulent checks or digital pay statements or say the payment is on its way but hasn’t gone through yet. 

Scammers will go so far as to forge realistic-looking screenshots as “proof” they paid you.

Bottom line

SHOTPRIMESTUDIO/Adobe confused angry curly Latin female

Scammers are clever and ever-evolving to surpass standard cyber security protocols. From phishing for data to coordinating a detailed, personal attack, they’ll stop at nothing to obtain your personal information and finances.

The best way to avoid foolish mistakes is hypervigilance. You never want to just throw money away because you trusted a scammer.

Always be wary and skeptical of any interaction you have on a social media platform, taking time and effort to verify the identities and intentions of anyone you interact with.

Choice Home Warranty Benefits

  • First month free
  • Protection for unexpected expense
  • 24/7 claims hotline
  • Network of over 15,000 technicians

Author Details

Lucy Clark Lucy Clark has considerable experience writing about real estate, as well as homes and gardens, home value, and more. She is savvy and resourceful, and she aims to ensure others can be, as well.

Want to learn how to make an extra $200?

Get proven ways to earn extra cash from your phone, computer, & more with Extra.

You will receive emails from FinanceBuzz.com. Unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy

  • Vetted side hustles
  • Exclusive offers to save money daily
  • Expert tips to help manage and escape debt