Most people use social media to communicate with family, friends and other followers. They share information, images and even videos to keep in touch with one another. Consumers also use social media to find deals, events and special offers will see timeshare and vacation scams on social media. This is where cyber criminals use social platforms to their advantage as well. They often create fake social media accounts and use them to scam people out of their hard-earned money.
Shifting Landscape: Social Media’s Growing Role in Financial Fraud
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says more than one in four people who reported losing money to fraud in 2021 said it started on social media with an ad, a post, or a message. That is a significant jump from the previous year, when only 16 percent of fraud victims said the scam began on social media.
Rising Threat: Vacation and Timeshare Scams via Social Media
Social media has also become a breeding ground specifically for vacation and timeshare scams. The Better Business Bureau released its 5 top vacation scams last year, which illustrates the ways scammers often create fake social media accounts and use them to reach out to timeshare owners and others looking to vacation. Those included in the list were rental scams, fake ticket schemes, travel club scams, bogus vacation rentals and timeshare resale schemes. Financial losses were significant, with the median loss per person totaling $1,900.
Experts say that one way to protect yourself from social media scams is to be aware of the red flags. Some of these include being asked to give away personal information, being promised a prize or reward for taking part in a survey or contest, and getting unsolicited messages from people you don’t know.
It is also important to be skeptical of any deals that seem too good to be true, such as a free vacation. When it comes to vacation scams perpetrated through social media, remember don’t believe everything you see online.
Avoiding Timeshare Vacation Property Scams
If you’re planning to buy a timeshare or rent a vacation property, be sure to do your research to avoid becoming a victim of a social media scam. The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips:
– Use reputable websites to search for vacation rentals and timeshares.
– Don’t give away your personal information, such as your credit card number or Social Security number, without verifying the legitimacy of the site or company.
– Check out the timeshare company with the BBB before you do business with them.
– Take screenshots of any ads or timeshare offers that look suspicious.
– Report any scams you encounter to the FTC here.
The bottom line is that social media can be a great tool for finding deals and staying connected, but it’s important to be aware of the scams that are out there. By being vigilant and following some simple tips, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim.
Led by attorneys Michael D. Finn and J. Andrew Meyer, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm that specializes in timeshare related issues. Contact us today for a free consultation if you need the services of a timeshare attorney.