Social media scams targeting kids that parents need to watch out for

Parents are being warned about a number of social media scams targeting children.

Internet Matters, a group that helps families stay safe online, has put together a guide to help parents understand the kind of fraudulent activity taking place on social media platforms.

And security experts, along with Barclays Digital Eagles, have offered advice on how they can keep youngsters safe.

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They point out that scammers often seek to harvest data and sell it to a third party.

A spokesperson said: “A particularly popular scam with children and young people are apps that claim to be able to tell you who has viewed (or harassed) your social media profile.

“It can be really appealing to teens who are navigating difficult relationship experiences and who want to be popular.

“However, these apps simply seek to collect personal data by introducing malware (viruses) to devices that collect data and are not connected to the social media platform in question.

“Social media sites do not share the data that would be needed to run such an app. Often these apps will post a message to friends and those you are connected to online recommending them – research has shown that we are much more likely to believe a recommendation from a friend and so the problem spreads.”

So what kind of social media fraud should young people be aware of? Here is what Internet Matters says:

Popular types of scams to watch out for


An image or text designed to grab our attention and encourage us to click on a link or engage with content such as a video or short article. The content will very often be sensational (you won’t believe it) or present an offer (last chance, there are only three left). Clickbait will promise something that is very unlikely to materialize.

Identity theft

Many of us post a lot of information on social media. It can be taken by others and used to steal our identity. Names, addresses, dates of birth are often easy to find – even if you don’t share your date of birth, messages from family and friends on your birthday saying Happy 16th will make it easier to determine. Having a private account is important, but how many of your 537 followers do you actually know?

Get rich quick

This clearly falls into the “if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is” category. If it were really that simple, surely everyone would do it?

Young people should be aware of social media scams

cat fishing

Someone will pretend to be someone else online in order to get money or personal information from an individual. These types of scams usually target those who are looking for a romantic relationship.

Shopping scams

These are fake advertisements on auction sites or social networks that use genuine images of items to persuade you to buy something. However, when you click on the site, it may look real, but in fact, it is a cloned site that is configured to accept payment and personal information with no intention of sending the purchased item.

Quizzes and contests

Quite often these quizzes will ask users to answer 3 questions with the promise of being entered into a draw to win seats or merchandise. Once the questions are answered, you are redirected to a website to enter personal information so that you can receive the prize if you are lucky enough to win it. The same can happen with surveys – if you take part in our short survey, you could be in with a chance of winning….

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Use our favorite social media platforms to take our personal data and information. These messages can often appear on our friends’ profiles to give them more authenticity and signify that we are more likely to be tricked into clicking.


It’s phishing but on a mobile device. Usually, smishing uses texts (which people often seem to trust more than a social media post). One of the most common will claim to be from your bank or a parcel delivery company telling you that they were unable to deliver that important parcel you were expecting and encouraging you to click here to arrange collection or delivery. on another date.

Internet Matters also offers advice on how to protect young people from social media scams and how to equip them with the skills to recognize and report these scams. More information is available here.

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