Ariel (10) was scrolling through the newsfeed of a photosharing app when she noticed a glam shot of her favorite influencer wearing cute new sneakers. She took a screenshot for her birthday list and then noticed a giveaway linked in the comments section. "Turn $20 into $200 and buy these shoes now! Make real money, real fast." Ariel knew it was unlikely she'd get the shoes from her parents, and more likely she'd get a pair of similarly colored socks, so she clicked the link to try her luck online. This took her to an outside website. A flashing logo said to "call this number, to learn more!" When she did, a male voice answered, "All you need to do is give me the security number and pin from your reload card, and I'll add in some extra zeros." Ariel didn't feel right about the situation. Her heart was racing, and she quickly hung up.
Did you spot the red flags?
- Ariel clicked a link in the comments section. Because the link was tied to a known influencer that she liked and trusted, she was misled to believe it was vetted.
- The caller was requesting a pin or code. Never provide anyone with these numbers, or other numbers tied to your money.
- Turning $20 into $200 was too good to be true. Ariel had a gut feeling something wasn't right, and she went with it. Good for her!
What you should know about this scam
As Mamma and Daddy shark, it's important to talk with Baby sharks about scams they may encounter while surfing the web.
Social Media scams have more than tripled in the past year. These platforms are often a place to let your guard down, and surround yourself with friends. Fraudsters take advantage of this dynamic, and swoop in when you least expect it.
Make your home a no phishing zone. Stay in the know about new phishing tactics, and role-play scheming scenarios with little ones so that they'll know what to look out for and how to proceed safely.