AG Coffman and the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Work to Keep Coloradans Safe on Social Media
DENVER – Colorado Attorney General Cynthia H. Coffman today announced that her office is partnering with the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management’s READYColorado program to promote safe social media habits in honor of National Internet Safety Month. Follow @StopFraudCo and @READYColorado on your favorite platforms or search for the #SocialMediaSafe hashtag to get involved.
Social media sites such as Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are widely used for connecting with friends, catching up with the news, and buying products and services; which make them prime platforms for scammers to find victims.
Practicing good safety and security habits is essential when using social media, no matter a person’s age or level of tech savviness.
"Unfortunately we are seeing more and more people fall victim to internet and social media scams,” said Attorney General Coffman. “We want to encourage all Coloradans to be extra cautious about putting information out on social media accounts, which can make them easy targets for scammers and fraudsters. Keeping personal identifying information and physical locations private can help keep consumers safe.”
Social media scams range from get rich quick schemes to identity theft and phishing. Thieves use fake profiles to impersonate legitimate financial businesses and obtain your personal information. Others impersonate public officials and promote fake grants, sweepstakes or lotteries that promise big payments in return for paying taxes up front. Posts promoting “money flipping” in a consumer’s newsfeed also promise big returns for a small investment. Identity thieves are highly adept at tricking social media users into disclosing social security numbers, bank account numbers, home addresses, and other personal information. If a person posts personal information on a public page identity thieves often won’t even need to contact them directly.
Ways for Consumers to Protect Themselves While Using Social Media
- Regularly check security settings on all social media channels. Security settings should be set up and adjusted regularly to limit people who see the accounts. Use a private setting and do not feel obligated to accept new friend requests. Don’t provide information like your birthday and where you went to school if you are not sure of the security settings.
- Report inappropriate posts and suspicious activity. Many platforms let consumers report inappropriate posts including scams directly to the site. If a person suspects fraud or has seen suspicious activity, they can report it directly to the content platform. Take screenshots of the posts and make a report at www.StopFraudColorado.gov and www.IC3.gov as well.
- Conduct thorough research online. Before contacting a social media account promoting an “investment” or business opportunity, search online for their username and phone number. Previous victims may have posted complaints or other information. Check with state regulators like the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies for appropriate licensing information.
- Prepaid Debit Cards Equal Cash. Treat prepaid debit cards as if they are cash. Anyone with the card number and pin will be able to withdraw the money. If you wouldn’t give a stranger cash then don’t give them the account information.
Social media has become a daily means for communication in our lives. Be careful with what you share. Just because you may keep things private, your posts on other people’s sites may get out into the world and into the wrong hands. If you have been a victim of a social media scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report at www.StopFraudColorado.gov. Want more tips and ideas? Head over to our website and follow @StopFraudCo and @READYColorado on your favorite social media platforms. Use the hashtag #SocialMediaSafe to get involved.
Colorado Attorney General’s Office
DateJune 27th, 2017