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Surviving Social Media: 7 Financial Tips

By Larry Miller

Hey, teens, tweens (and parents, too)! More often than not, networking on social media is a safe, fun, engaging way to connect with friends­­. Sometimes, though, you can run into circumstances that may leave you feeling confused or like you’re no longer in control.

That’s serious when it comes to your finances––and your identity.

Think about this: do you always know who is on the other end of your Snapchat or Instagram conversation? Your friend could have been hacked or spoofed, and you might not know for sure. Not to mention, anyone can follow or friend-request you. And, consider how easy it is for them to have too much of your information.

Why does it matter? Because the more someone knows about you, the more vulnerable you and your finances become.

Even if you try your best, it’s possible to find yourself in some rough waters. So, here’s a rescue kit of ways to stay smart and keep yourself out of the deep stuff.

1) Knock, knock. Who’s there? Just because someone knocks on your social media door doesn’t mean you have to answer. You may or may not know them. In fact, the person could be an imposter posing as a friend. This is how a lot of scam artists begin to build trust with young people. So, if you are uncertain at all, don’t accept their request.

2) Privacy, please! You can start by making sure you have the strictest privacy settings on all of your social media accounts––and keep as much of the info in your profile private, as well. Why? Because a profile set-up usually asks your full name, age, date of birth, where you live, where you go to school, your email address, your mobile number and more––all of which can be used to steal your identity.

3) Keep your Social off social. Never, ever, ever (did we say never?) give out your Social Security Number. With so much identifying information already in your profile, a Social Security Number may be all a scammer needs to steal your identity. With enough info, a criminal can pose as you, open a credit card or loan account under your name, and spend a bunch of money. Then, when the lender comes looking for the account holder, they’ll contact you to pay up. It was, after all, your Social Security Number used to open the account.

4) Financial info is precious. It may go without saying, but never give out your bank account number, either. A lot of scammers will tell you they’re going to deposit money into your account for one reason or another and that they need your bank info to do so. This is a red flag! They are trying to steal from you.

5) Gift cards are a warning sign. Scam artists often ask for payment through a gift card because the cards are financially untraceable, and the funds can be taken immediately. Know this: no reputable company––or person––would ever ask to be paid with a gift card. If anyone mentions payment through a gift card, unfriend them immediately.

6) Flattery will get you nowhere. “you look so cool and i love ur post, lets b friends. you should be an influencer. i can help.” Scammers, posing as friends often flatter teens to start a friendship. Next thing you know you’ve got a Snapchat streak going with them. Remember, scammers have plenty of time to build trust in order to swindle you.

7) To summarize, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Chances are, nobody wants to give you money, help you get rich quick or make you a star.

So, imo, be smart, be suspicious.
—ur bbf (that’s your “best bank forever”)