Is That Sponsored Ad for Real?

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As social media scams are getting more sophisticated with fake ads promoting bogus genealogy sites and designer items taking over highly sought out ad space on social media outlets, it’s becoming harder to tell the real from the counterfeit.

Online shopping ads are already bogging down timelines and newsfeeds, but now social media users need to be able to tell the authentic sponsored ads from the phony. The easiest way to tell the difference is if a too-good-to-be-true ad pops up showing an expensive item with a low-price tag. The goal is to lure the consumer in with the hot deal, receive their credit card information to charge the phony item, then use this personal information for identity theft. If you see these types of sponsored ads in your timeline, that’s a telltale sign your account has been hacked.

Social media users also need to be vigilant when researching ancestry and genealogy. According to Forbes, genealogy is a 2-plus billion-dollar industry that is expected to grow to 3 billion by 2018. Because of its growing popularity, scammers are taking advantage of those that are interested in delving deeper into their family history. Scammers are creating and sponsoring ads that look almost identical to genuine ancestry and genealogy sites. They’re enticing users by offering free ancestry research, which leads to a well-crafted look alike site where users are asked to provide personal information or login credentials. Once provided, your identity may be compromised.

If you come across an ad that looks suspicious, here’s what you should do:

  • If the ad appears in your profile, change your password immediately. Comb through the authorized apps on that account that can post on your behalf and remove them.
  • If you paid for a product through one of these scam sites, alert your credit card company immediately. In this way, the transaction can be cancelled and a fraud alert can be placed on your account.
  • Before signing up, search the name of the company and verify its reputation. This can be done through popular search engines such as Google or Bing, Facebook, genealogy forums, and

Source: AARP and Forbes

For the original article, visit Opportunity Is About to Knock So Get Ready to Open Your Door and Protect Yourself from Social Media Scams

To report a scam, go to the BBB Scam Tracker. To find trustworthy businesses, go to

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