This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
See Cramer's multi-million dollar portfolio for FREE and get his new book Get Rich Carefully! Learn More

3 New Social Media Scams That Will Drain Your Bank Account

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- You have to hand it to identity thieves -- and many Americans wind up doing just that -- for not sticking to the same scam for very long.

With a brand-new year open for business, identity thieves are turning to social media to separate you from your money.

Fortunately for consumers, MoneyGram is on to some of the most aggressive social media scams and is taking steps to warn Americans to practice caution when approached on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for cash-related requests.

Although the scams may change, the golden rule still applies when it comes to protecting your bank account: "Never send money to someone you don't know," says Kim Garner, senior vice president global security at the Dallas-based money transfer firm. "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

MoneyGram is warning consumers to watch out for three new scams for 2014:

The Instagram scam: MoneyGram reports that consumers are being approached on Instagram and offered an "investment opportunity." Usually, the scammer asks the user for $100 or $200, with a promise to invest the cash for a guaranteed return of between $1,000 and $2,000. If the target sends the upfront money, it disappears with the con artist.

Instagram may lull users into a false sense of security -- it does, after all, connect people who usually know each other, or at least have a loose social connection. All that doesn't matter, though. If you're approached on Instagram for an investment opportunity, take a pass. Chances are it's a scam.

The Facebook travel scam: Facebook users love to share photos and comments from vacation trips. Be careful, though. MoneyGram warns that online scammers can get the "ammunition" they need to call family and friends requesting hardship money from that travel destination, posing as local law enforcement officials or other trusted sources. If you get a call saying your Uncle Sid or old college roommate is in an "emergency situation" from someone you don't know, hang up and contact that Facebook friend or family member right away.

"Be cautious of the amount of personal information you post about yourself, and avoid social media completely until after your vacation," Garner says.

The "work from home kits" caper: Most savvy consumers are accustomed to seeing so-called "work from home" scams, but not on social media sites such as Facebook. Fraud specialists are counting on you being caught off balance, lulled into a false sense of comfort from engaging online with people you know. Companies such as Facebook and Twitter are used by companies to make connections and draw leads -- but never to ask for money. So avoid those who do.

As always, be cautious what you post online, especially on social media sites. If you don't, you'll have a big target on your back.

"The internet knows no boundaries," Garner says. "We want to remind consumers that what they post on the Internet is never really private. Fraudsters are experts at accessing information online, even with privacy settings."

Stock quotes in this article: FB,, TWTR 

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
DOW 16,408.54 -16.31 -0.10%
S&P 500 1,864.85 +2.54 0.14%
NASDAQ 4,095.5160 +9.2910 0.23%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto
Advertising Partners

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs