Experts provide insight on identifying online scams

Marquette City Police Department says scams like these are continuous.
Marquette City Police Department says scams like these are continuous.(wluc)
Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 4:58 PM EST
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Detectives in Marquette County have been receiving continuous reports of scam messages and fake profiles on social media.

Scott Berends is a social media creator and lately, he says his fans have become the victims of numerous online scams.

Many of these scammers, he said, are pretending to be him and promoting fake giveaways or contests.

“I get a few thousand messages every day about fake profiles popping up. The scams that they pull, it’ll be, ‘Click this link for my $10,000 giveaway.’”

Berends said these scams have affected his fans financially.

“Just a couple of days ago there was an incident where a pretty large amount was taken,” Berends said. “And it was just, ‘I need your bank account, so I can deposit this money’ and that’s it.”

Detective Lieutenant Christopher Aldrich with the Marquette Police Department said these types of scams are common and scammers don’t just target a single demographic.

“We’ve seen the whole gamut of people being targeted from young adults all the way through elderly, retired individuals.”

Aldrich said fake profiles are easy to identify.

“Just a general overview of the account: if it looks generic, if say on Facebook Marketplace, it’s somebody that does not have many friends or any friends at all or was recently set up, it’s a new account, those are kind of warning signs.”

To keep yourself safe, Aldrich said a good rule of thumb is to ignore messages from people you don’t recognize.

“The best thing to do is don’t respond to it at all. You can always report those types of messages to whatever platform it came in on, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram or whatever platform is being used.”

Aldrich also said the best way to identify a scam is that if the offer is too good to be true it probably is.

You can visit Scott Berends on his Instagram and TikTok.

Any businesses or organizations that would like a seminar in online safety are encouraged to contact the Marquette City Police Department.