Consumer Alert: FTC reports consumers lost $117 million to social media scams in first half of 2020

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HONOLULU (KHON2) – In the first six months of 2020, the Federal Trade Commission reports consumers losing a record high of nearly $117 million to social media scams.

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The Better Business Bureau says, the largest number of complaints are about fake online sellers.

“We click on that link, we go ahead and order that item and then it doesn’t show up,” said Roseann Freitas, Better Business Bureau Hawaii Marketplace Manager. “That is a big increase. We saw it initially with the PPE gear and we’re now seeing it again with every item.”

The BBB also says, about half of all romance scams start on Facebook and Instagram.

Meanwhile, millions of dollars are going to fraudulent social media ads offering financial relief due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

“If you get those pop-up messages that say, ‘I got this money, click here’ from one of your friends, more than likely they were hacked. So you want to let your friend know. If you suspect maybe it’s real, call your friend. Don’t click on it.”

To avoid falling victim to scammers, consumers should review social media privacy settings, research companies before buying anything and never trust financial relief offers on social media.

“Look at the reviews and the one thing I always like to do is, I like to take that company’s name. Then type it into Google search and the word ‘scam’ behind it. See what pops up, because if it is a scam, it’s going to pop up and people have reported it.”

To report a scam, contact the app, the FTC and BBB Scam Tracker.

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