The 6 internet scams that teenagers fall victim to

Scammers do not hesitate to send private messages directly on social networks, such as Instagram and Facebook photo credit: GettyImages

Shocking news on influencers, discounted luxury products, fake job offers… The Internet and social networks are full of scams specially designed to lure teenagers. Some more common scams can be avoided with a few good reflexes.

Summary:

  • Teenagers, targets of online and social media scams

  • Scam n°1: shock headlines involving influencers on social networks

  • Scam n°2: luxury products at reduced prices on fake e-commerce sites

  • Scam n°3: contests and lotteries directly in private messaging

  • Scam #4: real-fake friends calling for help

  • Scam #5: Fraudulent job offers

  • Scam #6: the scam… at the heart

Teenagers, targets of online and social media scams

Teenagers may be ultra-connected technophiles, but they often lack experience in identifying

scams

which abound on the Internet or social networks, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook in mind. Vulnerable, the young are ideal prey for

cyber fraudsters

and the latter specifically target their areas of interest to lure them into their traps.

Fraudsters interfere in the desires and or concerns of the youngest to extract either money or personal data. Some examples of entry points for scammers surfing on the sensibilities of teenagers or young adults:

  • Teens’ favorite social media influencers.

  • Young people looking for remunerative jobs.

  • Dating sites or apps…

Scam n°1: shock headlines involving influencers on social networks

Resisting a deliberately catchy title is very difficult for an adult, even an experienced one. For a teenager, resisting the temptation of easy clicking on a “shock news” is almost mission impossible. The difficulty is accentuated if the proposed link is inserted into the news feed of his favorite social network and if it appears to be widely consulted by other users.

Clever hackers surf the wave of current events to attract the attention of their prey: high-profile influencers, controversial remarks by personalities, very trendy new brands… even completely false.

For a YouTuber with millions of subscribers like Squeezie or for an Instagrammer like Lena Situations, the attraction is strong. However, the risk of being directed to a site containing malicious software is very common. Crooks sometimes contaminate the device used from a simple click. Computer, tablet or mobile, nothing escapes it. They block or suck up sensitive information, such as bank details or other administrative documents to, for example, open bank accounts by usurping the identity of the defrauded person.

User advice

The only way to guard against these scams lies in prevention on the sources. Remember to check the origin of the source before clicking on any content.

Scam n°2: luxury products at reduced prices on fake e-commerce sites

The false

luxury products

at bargain prices is another widespread scam on social networks. A pair of limited-edition Air Jordan sneakers, Christian Louboutin pumps with a 70% discount, a Ralph Lauren polo shirt on sale… the scammers are not lacking in imagination. They display more real-life advertisements on social networks and refer to fake websites where they offer products that are either counterfeit or simply non-existent.

When the case is too juicy, there is a big risk of not receiving anything or discovering a vague replica of the product ordered by opening its package. A common scam is to sell reproductions in a very very miniature format… the surprise can be big!

How to recognize a fraudulent website?

After these fairly simple checks, read the legal notices. They are mandatory and the name, form, language, location must be consistent. Finally, a simple query on “the domain name of the site + the word scam” on a search engine can quickly facilitate identification in case of doubt.

These first steps of control are not always enough and crooks work harder to fix these identifiable flaws. Therefore, take the time to look carefully at the contacts area. When presented, try calling the phone number or emailing. If either is not attributed, the site is probably fraudulent.

To unmask a fraudulent website, it is sometimes enough to take a few minutes. Start by checking the URL of the site. For a secure purchase, in addition to the name and its relevance, it must begin “ (http followed by an “s”). Spelling errors can also be a key indicator to take into account, such as bad translations making descriptions difficult to understand. Sometimes the very logo of the counterfeit brand is misrepresented and can detect the deception.

Scam n°3: contests and lotteries directly in private messaging

Even more pernicious, scammers target teenagers by sending them direct private messages (“PMs”) on Instagram, for example, where users are not obliged to follow each other to exchange via messaging.

The messages sent offer links to contests or lotteries to win very attractive prizes (iPhone, AirPods, etc.). Just call a phone number to get a miraculously won gift. However, most of the time this number is overtaxed and the batch will never arrive. To better deceive young people, these messages are sometimes sent from the replica Instagram or Snapchat accounts of influencers of well-known brands or e-commerce platforms.

User advice

Consider blocking senders from offers that are too good to be true. A statement in spam or a few seconds in your email settings is enough.

Scam #4: real-fake friends calling for help

Fraudsters don’t just impersonate stars or big international brands to maneuver. From a simple malicious click on an email, they recover your address book and/or clone ordinary user accounts on Instagram. The phishing strategy then operates.

It starts with an innocuous message calling for a response: “Hello, can you help me?” Then the so-called friend explains that his phone is blocked and asks to send an SMS to get an activation code. To obtain the famous code, you must start by providing your telephone number and the name of your operator. Therefore, without knowing it, the victim pays a sum of money to his scammer, via a payment platform by text message. It is taken without much formality directly from his telephone bill.

User advice

Never provide personal data even when you believe you know the person you are talking to. Indeed, in almost 100% of cases, a scam hides behind these requests. If in doubt, and if you are really worried about the person asking you, try to contact them by another means.

Scam #5: Fraudulent job offers

To be able to finance their desires, young people are looking for temporary and relatively flexible jobs: babysitting, personal services… The salary for these odd jobs is often not very good, so when offers offer a fabulous salary working from home, mistrust must be there. The idea of ​​working from home can be enticing, especially when the promised remuneration is high without requiring any qualification or experience.

Even if the ad seems to come from a site like Pôle emploi, Indeed, Wizbii or LinkedIn, beware. Indeed, these job offers often seem real with fraudsters who manage to pass themselves off as real recruiters. They usurp the name of a company, its address, its Siret number, or even the name of an executive or director of the company. The scam is palpable when bank details are requested even before an interview or the signing of an employment contract. Even if the argument used is the payment of your salary, beware and do things in order.

To note

Student offers propose the allocation of scholarships in major schools or universities. However, they require the student to pay registration fees before receiving financial assistance. This contradiction reflects the perfect scam!

Scam #6: the scam… at the heart

This is one of the most immoral deceptions. They abuse teenagers via social networks or online dating platforms. Deceit consists in seducing the young person in need of tenderness, gaining his trust, then extracting money from him. The scam can take on unimaginable proportions, especially when the scammer has managed to obtain daring photos of his target, and threatens to distribute them. Sometimes, without knowing it, the photos can even end up on Internet sites.

Who to contact in case of an online scam?

﹘ The portal of the economic and financial ministries publishes a user manual: “Purchases on the Internet, what to do in the event of a dispute?”

﹘ Abused persons can contact the consumer reception service of the Departmental Directorates for the Protection of Populations (DDPP) and the Departmental Directorates for Employment, Labour, Solidarity and Protection of Populations (DDETSPP) or with consumer associations.

﹘ The Info Escroqueries telephone platform involves police and gendarmes. They can be reached on 0 805 805 817 Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6.30 p.m. (service and free calls).

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The 6 internet scams that teenagers fall victim to


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