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Fight Back! gets social
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IF YOU RECEIVE a message on a social media site
from a person who claims to be able to help you flip
hundreds of dollars of upfront money into thousands in minutes, it’s a scam.
Scam artists appeal to victims by capitalizing on
the belief that it’s possible to make money with very
little effort. If you’re having financial difficulties and
need the money, it seems like the answer. Scams
based on flipping money are nothing new. A modern variation of the scam targeting millennials
involves the use of social media to lure in victims.
Scammers have legitimate-looking online
profiles. They have real-sounding usernames
and followers. You’ll find photos of satisfied participants posing with stacks of cash along with testimonials about how easy—and fast—it was to
make that money. They may post a phone number
to contact them.
Once you do contact them, here’s how a version
of this scam works: They tell you to go to a convenience store and purchase a reloadable prepaid
money card and to load the card with the upfront
money ($100, $200, $300, etc.). They convince you
that the greater the amount of money you put on the
card, the more money you will make. They ask you
to send them the card information, which includes
the card number, the PIN, the code on the back of
the card and a receipt of transaction. They promise
that once you do, your card balance will increase
and your cash will be available to you in minutes.
As soon as you provide the information they are
asking for, they are able to access the funds on
the prepaid card. Your money is gone and they
Don’t lose your wallet in
Watch out for
a phone scam
that could cost
thousands disappear—their phone number is no longer work- ing and they block you from contact.
Take the following steps to avoid becoming a
victim in this scam, and others like it.
When in doubt, don’t. If anyone contacts
you online and requests upfront money online,
don’t engage with them. Report them to the social
media site you are using.
Don’t always trust your friends online.
Scammers can hijack friends’ social media accounts
to like and share their own posts. If a friend contacts
you with an offer online or requests money or any
information from you, call the person directly to
confirm that is really who is asking before you act.
Be careful using prepaid cards. Treat a
prepaid card the same way you would treat cash.
Never give out a PIN or any prepaid-card information online.
In general, use common sense when evaluating
income-generating opportunities online. If an
opportunity looks and sounds too good to be true,
it probably is.
If you are the victim of a flipping-money scam,
report your experience to whichever social
media site you were using at the time. File a
complaint with the Federal Trade Commission
ftc.gov and with the Internet Crime
Complaint Center (IC3) at
ic3.gov. The FTC is the
nation’s consumer protection agency. The IC3 is a
partnership between the FBI and the National
White Collar Crime Center that shares information
with other appropriate government and law
FTC representative C. Steven Baker says, “It is
very important that victims complain; we know
most never do.” The information you share will be
provided to law enforcement and could prevent
future crimes from happening.
more information and tips on avoiding these and
other Internet scams. C
WHEN FINANCIAL fraud
is perpetrated against the
elderly, it affects the entire
family and often goes unre-
ported. One type of emer-
gency scam, known as
“the grandparent scam,”
is particularly convincing.
Here’s how a typical
version of this scam plays
out. A grandparent receives
a phone call from an individ-
ual posing as their grand-
child and claiming to be in
trouble and in urgent need
of money to be bailed out
of jail or some other emer-
gency. The grandparent is
asked to send money imme-
diately, using a prepaid
money card, Western Union
or MoneyGram. They’re
often asked to not tell the
parents about this situation.
For more tips on
how to avoid this and
other emergency scams,
visit the Federal Trade