Let this be a lesson to beware of those Internet scams!

According to Complex, social media scammers managed to rake in $770 million due to fraudulent behavior across the Internet in 2021. However, the amount only accounts for 25 percent of fraud that was actually reported last year.

Who was targeted?

In a report conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 95,000 people reported that they had been victims of fraud. Those who were between ages 18 and 39 were almost twice as likely to be targeted by scams versus their older counterparts.

The FTC calls the revelation “a stunning eighteen fold increase” in comparison to a 2017 report on fraud.

How did this happen?

While there are tons of ways to lure folks out of money on the internet, one factor that weighed heavily throughout the FTC’s findings was the fact that 9 out of 10 victims were said to have been scammed via Facebook or Instagram. Per the FTC, more than half of the losses reported could be linked back to targeted scams on both of the platforms that operate under the Meta parent company.

According to Complex, “the report noted that online investment scams were the biggest culprit in social media fraud, and had ballooned in 2021, accounting for $285 million of 2021 losses.” Those factors included standard investments in stocks, bonds, and crypto but also stemmed from investing in art, stock options, and even just consulting on what the world of investing looks like. 

Another contributor to the scams was online romances.

“More than a third of people who said they lost money to an online romance scam in 2021 said it began on Facebook or Instagram,” read the report. “These scams often start with a seemingly innocent friend request from a stranger, followed by sweet talk, and then, inevitably, a request for money.”

At this time, it is said that Meta has not made any comments regarding the report.