FTC warns social media giveaways may be fake

It’s the holiday season and if you’re shopping on social media, be careful with giveaways claiming you’ll win a prize. The Federal Trade Commission says it’s likely a scam and many people are becoming victims.

One in four people who reported losing money to fraud since 2021 said it started when a user clicks on a link on social media, according to the FTC.

“When someone comes along and says, ‘Hey, you can win 500 bucks or a thousand bucks’ or anything like that. You need to be very, very careful about that,” said Ira Rheingold, consumer attorney and executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

That’s because it may not be a real business offering it; Rheingold said do your homework.

“Always check the email address that you’re receiving something from,” Rheingold said. “Don’t click a link just randomly because they’re offering you a gift or some money.”

And if they ask for your financial information, Rheingold said that’s a red flag.

“Never, ever, ever, ever, give away your financial information: your bank account, your credit card information,” he said. “You sort of have a big target on your head when you do that type of thing.”

The FTC recommends you ask yourself, “Why does this business need my financial information if I’m receiving a prize?” and to contact the business using a phone number, email or website that you know is real.

Learn more about how to avoid scams and how to recover money if you’ve been scammed on the FTC’s website.

Sandra Jones

Sandra Jones is an Anchor/Reporter for WTOP. She’s been in the news industry for more than two decades.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up