More young adults are targeted by scammers on social media -WSJ

A new report by the Wall Street Journal sheds light on how more and more young adults are being targeted by scammers on social media platforms for their money and credit card information.

The report gives various examples of how scammers use the power of social media advertising and e-commerce to target innocent users. Jessica Longoria, for example, came across a TikTok ad last November which promoted shoe-organizing boxes. The ad claimed that the clear plastic containers were on sale for a limited duration, and she ordered a 36-pack for a total price of $45.

However, when the package arrived, Longoria shockingly saw that it only had a large plastic bag in it. Although she couldn’t get in touch with the seller, she managed to get her money back after filing a claim with Apple.

Image Source Jessica Longoria on TikTok via the WSJ

But Longoria wasn’t the only one that got scammed by the same ad and the same seller. A number of other TikTokers also posted about their experiences, and their videos got 32 million views in total.

In a statement to the WSJ, a spokesperson for TikTok said that the scammer has been banned from advertising on the short-form video platform. He said that TikTok ads undergo a thorough review process, including both human and machine scrutiny, before they are approved.

We have clear rules around advertising on TikTok and will remove content that breaches our community guidelines, advertising policies or terms of service,” he added.

While TikTok’s popularity keeps growing despite the potential nationwide bans, scammers also actively use other platforms like Meta’s Facebook and Instagram to target social media users.   

“We’re able to keep a lot of fake accounts from ever going live,’’ a Meta spokesperson told the WSJ. ‘’And we’re able to stop a lot of financially motivated scams before anyone on our platforms encounter them.’’

According to the Federal Trade Commission, online shopping is the most prevalent form of fraudulent activity, and social media platforms provide fertile ground for scammers to start their activities.

In March this year, the government agency issued orders to eight social media and video streaming platforms to disclose how they handle misleading ads on their platforms.

The report also includes several recommendations for social media users to avoid online scammers, including reading comments below ads, checking out product reviews and the seller’s website, and asking the seller for proof. 

Written by Tuna Cetin


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