Time and time again we see sad stories that go viral at record speed especially after social media influencers and celebrities share these posts. Many times it helps to bring awareness to significant issues but now unscrupulous vultures are using this opportunity to prey on honest, kindhearted people. We see all these posts circulating that tugs on your empathetic heartstrings and makes you forget all reasoning. Especially during this pandemic, we know a lot more people are having a hard time and need a lending hand. On the other hand, you have these entitled thieves taking advantage of the situation. We know a lot of people are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to online “help me” scams. You’ve seen the cries for help and the Go Fund Me pages set up to “assist” alleged victims or charities. Do not take everything you see on social media at face value and donate money to these so-called causes. Do a little background check and research legitimate sources.
Have you been social media sad story scammed?
Some of these posts may be real but scams come in many shapes and forms. For example, the situation may have occurred but someone else is trying to profit off the stories of real people struggling. On the other hand, people that reached out for help may have already been compensated enough but because they see the willingness of others to give they will continue to take advantage of your kindness.
Here are a few tips to spot scams:
- Check to see how long the post has been circulating
- Find out who is the source
- In the case of a missing person or someone seriously injured google the case and see if any credible news sources have featured the story
- If a person is claiming to be abducted or held against their will chances are they won’t have access to a phone or even be able to post on social media. Even if they did they would use a phone to call the police for help or a loved one, not share with strangers on social media.
- If someone is asking for an unreasonable amount of assistance, that the general public shouldn’t be consulting on, check to see if they have already exhausted all other options from professionals or simply recommend that they do so.
- Try to get the other side of the story or another account, more than likely someone else has something to say about the validity of the story.
- Look for signs to see if someone is just seeking clout (attention) to boost their social media following or to raise money for an unrelated hidden motive.
Now that you have these tips, think carefully before you believe, share, or donate to a cause. It is also important to note if these posts involve others then sharing these scams can affect a person, place, and/or business negatively if you spread these unconfirmed stories. We are in the age of “cancel culture” so if we are not careful innocent parties may be harmed in the process.