If you have a young person in your home make sure you know what they're doing online. That's because scammers are looking for them. A new study by Social Catfish, https://socialcatfish.com/ says American youth lost a record $210 million to online scams in 2022, up 2,500% since 2017 - the largest increase of any age group. Social Catfish is a company dedicated to preventing online scams through reverse search technology.

SCAMMERS KNOW WHERE TO TARGET YOUR KIDS

Officials at Social Catfish say online scammers and predators have easy access to kids and they prey on "young people’s insecurity and naiveté can lead to financial losses, physical harm and suicide." Social Catfish - a reverse search technology company - released the study on the State of Internet Scams 2023 using 2023 data from the FBI and FTC. “The rate at which young people are being scammed is alarming,” says Social Catfish Co-Founder David McClellan. “As a father of two, I am passionate about keeping kids safe online and it is incumbent on parents to spend more time discussing online safety with their children.”

THREE POPULAR WAYS KIDS ARE BEING SCAMMED

1. Online Games and In-App Purchases Scam: If you play online games you'll be able to see in game purchases. Young people may not understand they're spending money in a virtual world but it happens. With a click teens can make expensive purchases and can be tricked into giving credit card information.
Social Catfish says parents should enable parental controls to stop the purchases unless they give approval.

ROMANCE AND SEXTORTION SCAMS

2.  Some teens are lonely and online scammers can target them. Scammers will ask for money or personal information to commit identity theft. "They may ask to meet in real life which could lead to physical assault or may engage in ‘sextortion’ by requesting a sexy selfie and then threatening to release the photo if a ransom is not paid."
Social Catfish says use their tool to search to confirm the real identity of the person. Never send money or photos to anyone you do not know. https://socialcatfish.com/

 

EVER HEARD OF A SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER?

3.   Watch out for Social Media Influencer Contests: Fake accounts are out there and sometimes the fake athlete or celebrity accounts message kids to let them know they won a contest for free stuff. Kids clink on a link and scammers gain access to computers and all the important information.Social Catfish says fake social media accounts have very few followers. Never click on random links or send money or personal information to a celebrity online.

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