MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Consumer advocates have seen an uptick in crooks using social media to peddle scams. I'm working an investigation right now of local scammers trying to sell counterfeit pay stubs and drive-out tags brazenly over Facebook, apparently with no fear of being caught (they have been...dummies). But that's for another story.
The Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance just issued a warning about scammers using social media to push fake travel packages or discounts. The scam is perpetuated when your contacts unwittingly share it over and over again with their Twitter followers or Facebook friends.
"Too good to be true giveaways or offers for travel should raise flags that it could be a scam," said Claire Marsalis, the department's assistant director of communications and marketing. "These scams can commonly be found on social media with friends sharing posts for a chance to win free flights or trips."
Marsalis shared these suggestions when it comes to social media offers of travel deals:
* Before sharing a post on social media about a giveaway, check the account page. If it's claiming to be a well-known company, but the page was only recently created and only has one or two posts, the page and giveaway are likely scams.
* If you're contacted by social media, by phone or by email with free travel offers, but you need to pay a fee or hand over personal or account information, it is a scam. Don't respond, click links or hand over any information or money.
* If you've been contacted with an offer like this, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at FTCComplaintAssistant.gov or by phone at 877-382-4357.
* If you realize that a giveaway is being hosted by a fake account, report the page to the social media site.