A tempting offer or deal pops up on your screen when you’re scrolling through your social media feed – but the too-good-to-be-true ad is exactly that and leaves you out of pocket.
How it could happen to you
- You see eye-catching 'discount' adverts for items in your social media feed based on your recent internet searches or online activity. They can often feature the familiar face of a celebrity or TV star endorsing a product or service.
- Similarly, a post on your social media account promises huge or 'guaranteed' investment returns. Only if you act quickly will you be able to take advantage, it says.
- You click on the post and are then taken to a separate website touting the offer/opportunity.
- It asks for your financial details and suggests payment by bank transfer. The goods never arrive or service never materialises.
Stop, think and act
Protect yourself from being scammed with a healthy dose of scepticism whenever you see pop-ups in your social media feeds.
For example, if your search for a new designer handbag triggers ads which tout incredible offers, ask yourself how real could these discounts be? If they're too big to believe, they're probably fake.
If an ad takes you to a website, examine its web address very carefully and compare it with that of the official brand – if it doesn't match or seems an unlikely fit, steer clear.
When a TV presenter’s photo appears to suggest they recommend a high-risk investment or particular product, always double-check their official social media or website. Look online to see if others have expressed similar concerns – spelling errors and image quality are warning signs and ask yourself if the image looks as if it's been digitally altered.
And if tempted by promises of easy profits, be suspicious – do your own research and double-check the firm behind them is legitimate by using the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Financial Services Register.