Fraud Exposed: Breaking Down Fraud on Social Media

Social media has transformed the way we interact, receive news, and even date. Users spend hours on end scrolling through social media, whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok. With nearly 5 billion social media users worldwide, social networking has become one of the most popular online activities.  

But because of its popularity, social media platforms have become a breeding ground for marketplace fraud, romance scams, and misleading advertisements. However, these aren’t the only types of fraud and abuse that can take place on social media platforms. 

Social media apps are a popular target for fraudsters because of how easy it is to make an account without having to spend too much time or money. Accounts on these platforms are also easy to hide behind, maintaining anonymity. This makes it easier for fraudsters to conduct a wide range of fraud attacks without getting caught.

What types of fraud and abuse to look out for on social media platforms

Fraudsters create fake accounts on social media platforms to act as a launchpad for fraud and abuse.  For example, they use them to spam genuine users. Content spam is instrumental in spreading fake news which is often used to achieve a political agenda. In fact, some politicians have been known to pay social media influencers to spread misinformation about their opponents in order to win political campaigns. Political violence online can destabilize societies and cause harm to individuals. And if social media platforms are found to have taken inadequate measures in filtering out malicious posts and comments, they could face repercussions such as fines or lawsuits.

Fake accounts can even be used to send hateful messages, pictures, or posts to other users. They are sometimes also paid to do this in order to taint the platform’s image. Take a dating app as an example. A fraudster will create fake accounts to send hate messages to genuine users. This can ruin the experience for genuine users and cause them to switch to competitor apps. Even worse, hate speech is considered a criminal offense in some countries. 

Fraudsters also send malicious links or impersonate celebrities to trick users into giving them money. Genuine users could lose thousands of dollars and turn to other social media sites to air their grievances, resulting in bad press. A bad reputation also affects new user acquisition. 

Another type of fraud on social media apps is fake reviews. In recent years, social media has become a popular place for users to host second-hand sales and sell items. Some merchants create fake accounts and leave fake reviews on their own products to boost sales. Fraudsters may also leave fake reviews on their competitors’ products to dissuade users from purchasing them.

How SHIELD can help protect social media platforms from fraud and abuse

SHIELD’s technology empowers social media apps to stop fraud and build trust on their platform.

The SHIELD ID, the global standard for device identification, detects devices linked to multiple accounts. This enables social media platforms to flag fake accounts that are being used to take part in hate speech and spam genuine users. The SHIELD Risk Indicators are also leveraged to identify when and which malicious tools are in use to carry out fraud. For example, if a fraudster was using app cloners and emulators to create fake accounts, the social media app would be able to block these accounts from their platform in real-time. 

With the number of social media users expected to increase by over 1 billion users in the next few years, it’s crucial for social media platforms to be proactive in the fight against fraud and abuse to protect their growing user base.

Find out how our technology can help protect your social media platform from fraud.