Beware Of Sharing Scam Social Media Posts, Warns Prince George RCMP

We’ve all come across social media posts like this. It includes a photograph of a small child. The caption reads something along the lines of “We just found this child all alone. The police say that no one has reported him missing. Please share this post so we can find his parents.”

At first glance, such a social media post appears to be a heartfelt request to reunite a lost child with his family. The majority of us would be touched by such a sentiment and circumstance that we would take a few seconds to do exactly as we were prompted. We share the post in hopes to remedy the unfortunate situation. Lisa Steacy of CTV News Vancouver warns us, however, that we may be falling prey to a scam.

“Heartbreaking” posts are being used in bait-and switch scams.

As she recently reported, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Prince George, British Columbia are urging people to think twice before sharing such “heartbreaking posts” on social media. They warn that the posts are being used in online bait-and switch scams. The original post of the gut-wrenching scenario asks for help to find people. Sometimes, it’s the owner of a lost dog or the parents of a lost child.

Once the posts have been shared by enough people, the scam artists then go in and revise the content of the posts. They change them from their original heartbreaking nature into rental ads or fake contests. It’s all in the name of trying to secure a large cash payout.

Cpl. Jennifer Cooper is a spokesperson for the Prince George RCMP.

“When your friends and family see this on your social media page, they believe it to be legitimate and are more likely to click the link, thinking it has been endorsed and vetted by you,” she alerts in the article. Steacy notes the Prince George Mounties recently caught wind of such a scam.

They received a complaint about a scam Facebook post involving a lost child. It claimed that a toddler had been found in the small B.C. city and had been taken to a police station as no one could find the child’s parents. The post had been shared in community Facebook groups as far as California and Georgia.

Police urge social media users to search for the original poster’s name before sharing any posts. Look for red flags. “Those can include the account being new and the user having very few friends,” informs Steacy, “A keyword search can also be useful to see if the same post has been shared in other groups, particularly in faraway locations. A reverse image search can also be useful in finding out if the post is a scam. The Prince George RCMP also urges people to report these posts to the social media companies so they can be taken down.”

At SOS 4 Kids, we want everyone to be safe.

This is why we offer a number of safety courses for children. They include Home Alone Safety For Kids and the My Safe Life program. To learn all about them, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 1-844-373-1024 or email us at [email protected]. You may also fill out the form on our Contact page!