Social media scams are becoming more common - learn how they work

The Norfolk Sheriff's Office has received reports of individuals falling victim to scammers who promise services on social media platforms to the victim, receive money in advance for their services, then fail to deliver.
 
One woman who was scammed sent up a series of screenshots from her smartphone, and we decided to use these screenshots to illustrate a typical manner in which scams like this work.
 
Note that we chose to mask the ID of the perported scammer as this person has not been identified, nor charged with a crime.
 

(Scroll over the image to pause the slideshow.)
 
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  • #1

    In this first screenshot, we see the (eventual) victim asking the scammer about services she believes that the scammer can provide.

  • #2

    They continue their discussion about the services, and the victim sends the scammer a first payment of $40 using CashApp.

  • #3

    They then begin discussing when the services will be performed.

  • #4

    As they continue to discuss what the scammer will do, and when, the scammer introduces the need for the victim to pay an additional $50 for the scammer to travel to the victim's location.

  • #5

    Skipping ahead to a later day, the scammer requests that the victim provide her with the travel fee in advance, and once again provides a link to do so.

  • #6

    The victim hesitates at first, but then agrees and sends the scammer the $50 travel fee in advance, again via CashApp.

  • #7

    The scammer then acknowledges having received the travel fee, and confirms the time and date, along with the cost for the services to be performed.

  • #8

    Skipping ahead a bit, the scammer failed to show up to perform the services and the victim tries to locate her for an explanation. The person she contacts says it wasn't her, but her "cousin" using her phone. This person apologizes and says she'll make good on returning the money the victim paid in advance.

  • #9

    Later, after having failed to reimburse the victim as promised, the scammer offers to send the victim $12 - presumably as a "goodwill gesture." The victim tells the scammer this is unacceptable and threatens legal action.

  • #10

    At this point, the scammer's account suddenly disappears from Instagram, and now the victim has no recourse to recover her lost money.



The woman who fell victim to this scam tells us she thinks the person who scammed her is the same person who claimed it was her "cousin" doing the scamming. She said she also believes the scammer just changed her online ID and is still trying to defraud people in the same manner.

If you believe someone had attempted to scam you like this, or you feel you've fallen victim to something similar to this, please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.

File a Fraud Report

 



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