COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - We've all seen those ads online that offer deals that seem too good to be true. Now, scammers are using that ploy to target victims on social media; especially Facebook.
KRDO NewsChannel 13 talked with one woman who lost every penny she owns from ads like this.
Sandy Sutton's story
It started out as a face cream deal that was too good to be true.
"I clicked on the site and they talked about a free bottle for just the cost of shipping," she said.
Sutton filled out the information and got the sample but decided she didn't want the full subscription.
Apparently, it was already too late.
"When I got into the bank, I found my account was overdrawn and I had almost $900 worth of charges I didn't authorize," she said.
It only got worse from there. Sutton not only didn't receive the full product but she was charged by five different companies.
So what went wrong?
"They fool you with the hidden terms and conditions," said Shellie Busetti, Sutton's daughter.
"They told every little nasty thing they were going to do to you, from selling your information to their affiliates to charging you every two weeks," she said. "They also added how they may or may not even give you a refund."
What happened to Sutton is actually pretty common. According to a University of Chicago study, of 1,000 people, only 50 percent of website users actually read the terms and conditions page.
Social Media Scams
"Typo squatting" is another popular social media scam. This is where scammers buy domain names that look like legitimate businesses. It's tricky if the site is recreated exactly like the real one, and scammers can fool you into entering personal information to get access to your real account.
"Don't think it can't happen to you" - Det. Jon Price, El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Price said this is a common tactic for scammers.
"Scammers use fake interent sites all the time to pull consumers in," said Price. "It could even be a misspelling of a word. You click on it, and you can be easily fooled you're not on the official site."
Another example is the app called "Who Views" that claims it will show you who has viewed your profile, but it's actually a spying or spam virus.
The best advice: ignore those flashing pop-up ads on Facebook.
"People who run scams do it for a business and they make a lot of money doing it," said Price.
What can you do to protect yourself for any scam?
1. Email Scams: If you receive an email that is threatening or fraudulent report it to your local police or sheriff's department.
2. Pop-up Scams: Report these messages directly to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at email@example.com.
3. Bank Scams: Report immediately to the Internet Crime Complaint Center
4. Arrest Warrant Scams impersonating a law enforcement officer: report it immediately to the El Paso County Sheriff's Department or the city's Fraud Prevention and Detection Policy Division.
5. If you get a "scam" email you can create a spam folder in your email to store all of them. Or you can also go to your settings and automatically block future emails from that account.
What are the top social media scams in Southern Colorado?