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Only one in three alert to scam threat on social media

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Just one in three Brits (38%) are alert to the possibility of being targeted by a scam when scrolling through social media.

That’s according to new research from Barclays, and is substantially lower than the numbers alert to the risks when answering their mobile phone (69%) or landlord (66%). Similarly, people are far more aware of the potential of being targeted by fraudsters through text messages (69%) or email (73%).

This comes despite data from Barclays finding that almost half of scams in the first three months of this year originated on tech platforms, ranging from social media to dating apps.

The study noted that while there are significant numbers of scams originating on these platforms, they tend to be lower value, accounting for just 20% of the value of scam claims. Barclays argued this demonstrated that people need to always be on the guard for scams, even on smaller purchases.

Failing to do your research

The Barclays study found that people are much more likely to carry out a thorough background check on someone before they fix something in their home (31%) than they are when purchasing something via an online marketplace or through a social media site (22% and 26% respectively).

What’s more, while most respondents said they felt confident spotting when someone is lying in everyday life, the tell-tale signs they picked out ‒ such as not making eye contact or fidgeting ‒ do not apply to online scams.

Jim Winters, head of fraud at Barclays, noted that fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated with their tactics, making it all the more important that people be on their guard.

He continued: “We’ve seen a rise in fraud and scams driven by fake SMS messages or adverts on social media over the past year – which means it’s more important than ever to be vigilant when scrolling through social media and not clicking on any link in a text message. In fact, young people are increasingly falling victim, due to the amount of time spent on social media platforms, giving scammers a captive audience.”

Tackling online scams

Earlier this month the government revealed new measures which it hopes will crackdown on scammers using social media to trick people into handing over their pensions.

However, it has been criticised due to the fact that its Online Safety Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech, will not include online scams

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