Tips for Avoiding Media Scams and Fraud

The FTC recently reported that they’ve seen a huge spike in people losing money from social media scams in recent years, and the citizens of West Jordan are not exempt from these scams. Data from 2021 suggests that 95,000 people—more than twice the number in 2020—reported losing money to social media fraud in 2021 with scammers and fraudsters profiting a total of $770 million. Most of the reports involved someone who ordered a product from social media that never arrived.

Here are some ways to avoid falling victim to a scam.

  • The FTC says many scammers can use the same tools as advertisers on social media platforms to target their victims. One way consumers can avoid this is by opting out of targeted ads.
  • Social media users should also consider changing their privacy settings to limit who can see their information. Scammers rely on any information users share, so they can be more convincing.
  • Social media users should also consider how a seller is asking them to pay. Never agree to pay for an item, or even make a deposit, before receiving the item. This is one of the easiest ways to get scammed. A scammer may ask you to place a deposit or advance payment to secure the item. Odds are, you will never receive the item, and the scammer will disappear with your money.
  • Scam artists will often try to get you to pay in advance by money order, gift card, cash, or wire transfer. Avoid these methods of payment because if the seller runs off with your money, you won’t have any way to trace it or get it back. Pay with a credit card if you’re ordering the item online. If purchasing it from a local seller, pay for it at the time you pick it up.
  • Exchanging the money and the item at the same time, preferably in a well-lit, public location is always best. When meeting a seller in person, bring another person with you as an added precaution. West Jordan City offers a safe, monitored “Exchange Zone” located on the west side of the police department, just south of the main entrance where transactions may be made any time.
  • Criminal prosecution is very difficult with regards to scams. They will normally end up as a civil problem, but police department investigators would still like to hear about the incident. If you are a victim or think you may be a victim of a scam, please call the police department at (801) 840-4000.
aerial view of West Jordan neighborhood