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You may have heard us say when you’re shopping online, check things out before checkout. The same advice applies to giveaways on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram. Here’s why: One in four people who reported losing money to fraud since 2021 said it started on social media. Scammers make it hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake. Want to avoid scams on your feed? Slow your scroll and keep reading to find out how.

If you follow your favorite businesses on social media to get updates about upcoming events or promotions, you’re not the only one. Scammers are watching too — and they may hijack legit businesses’ giveaways and promotions to try and get your personal and financial information. Imagine your favorite photographer is giving away a free photo session. You follow the steps to enter — liking their page, tagging a few friends, and sharing the post. Then someone who looks like the business owner tags you in a comment saying that you’ve won. They send you a link — and ask for financial information — to claim your prize. What’s your next step? [Hint: it rhymes with Jaws!]

Before you respond, pause. Don’t click on any links since they might contain malware. Then:

  • Ask yourself: Does this business need information like my credit card number to get this free prize? If it’s legit, probably not!
  • Contact the business using a phone number, email, or website that you know is real. Ask if they really sent the message. If they didn’t, report the post and let them know that their account may have been hacked.

Learn more about how to spot, avoid, and report scams—and how to recover money if you’ve paid a scammer—at If you spot a scam, report it to the FTC at

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Jeannie Strausburg
November 16, 2023

I believe social media has ways to identify websites and whether they are legit or not. There should be some sort of validation stamp issued or other identifying mark that scammers can't duplicate that we could look for similar to our phones identifying suspected SPAM so we know the person may not be legit when we answer (or chose not to answer).

Ian Bishop
November 16, 2023

Thanks for the great advice.


November 17, 2023

Good advice

November 28, 2023

thank you so much