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.