Online scammers will try anything to trick unsuspecting users, including tugging on their heartstrings. Many of these scams take advantage of people’s interest in helping those in need by setting up fake charities or by impersonating sick individuals. And according to the watchdog group Full Fact, one of these scams has gone viral on Facebook over the past month, appearing to be from a pair of worried parents posting about their missing son Tyler. However, neither the parents nor the child is actually real.
Full Fact says the goal of posts like this is to generate as much engagement and shares as possible. Then, after the post has gone viral, the scammers will swap out the “missing child” content for a fraudulent advertisement. However, these bait-and-switch scams aren’t just related to missing kids.
“We’ve fact-checked a range of [other] fake Facebook posts appealing for help with missing parents, lost dogs — and even abandoned babies,” the group said. “These posts often have their comments disabled, which means that other social media users can’t warn that they’re fake.”
While it’s easy to blindly reshare a post like this and feel like you’re doing the right thing, it’s probably a good idea to take a moment and investigate a little further. You never know if you’re unwittingly amplifying a scam.
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