Get rich quick schemes promising high returns in minimal time are not a new phenomenon. But clever scammers are now promoting these "money flipping" scams on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to target a younger audience.
How the Scam Works:
You see a photo of a pile of cash on Instagram or another social media site. The caption brags about an easy money flipping scheme. This person claims to have "flipped" a couple hundred dollars into thousands, and he or she offers to do the same for you.
Money flipping on Instagram. Caption reads: "Who trying to make some money? Flip 200 to 2,000 fast and quick money. Only business."
Money's been tight lately, so the post piques your interest. You check out the profile behind the post, and he or she appears to be a real person with photos and followers. The account may even have dozens of "thank you" comments from satisfied past "investors." You decide to give it a shot, and send him or her a message.
This "investor" tells you that it's easy to get started. All you need to do is put $100 or more on a prepaid debit card from your local convenience store. The greater the value, the more money you can make. Then, share the card number and PIN, and the "investor" will do the rest.
Unfortunately, giving out the card number and PIN allows the "investor" to withdraw money from the card. Typically, the scammer drains the card and then blocks you from contacting their social media account.
Tips to Avoid Money Flipping Scams:
- Do a quick search. Before contacting the potential scammer, do a web search of their username or phone number. If it's a scam, chances are that other victims have posted complaints and information online.
- Be wary of prepaid debit cards. Wire transfers used to be a scammer's favorite way to collect payment, but prepaid debit cards are the new preferred method. Treat prepaid debit cards like cash. Once you give away the account info, you will not be able to get that money back.
- Don't trust your friends' taste online. It might not actually be them "liking" or sharing these scam posts. Their account may have been hacked. But it may also be clickjacking, a technique that scammers use to trick you into "liking" something that you wouldn'totherwise.
- If it sounds to good to be true... Well, you know the rest. Use common sense when seeking ways to supplement your income. Anyone who claims to be able to turn a small investment into piles of cash in mere minutes is a scam artist.