April Fools’ Day is a holiday dedicated to pranking your friends and family members, and chuckling about it all day long. However, it is also a day that scammers use to fool their victims into their schemes. They come up with every scam they can think of to get their hands on their victims’ hard-earned money. Thousands of victims fall for these scams on a daily basis, losing their life savings to scammers who are up to no good. Here are the top 5 April Fools’ scams to watch out for this April Fools’ Day.
The Top 5 April Fools’ Day Scams to Watch Out For
#5 Deepfake Scams
A deepfake is when a video is edited while recording to make the person look like another person. Scammers usually use deepfake technology to make themselves look like a certain celebrity. They pretend to be this celebrity on a Facebook Live video on a fake account, as they ask the celebrity’s fans to participate in a fake social media giveaway. They instruct the fans to send them personal information and a small fee to participate in the giveaway. They steal the money given to them and commit identity fraud with everyone’s information.
How to Avoid: Make sure that the celebrity’s social media page you are following has a blue checkmark next to their name. This means that they are verified as the person they claim to be and are safe to interact with on social media. If someone is claiming to be a celebrity and is hosting a giveaway on their page without a blue checkmark, this is a huge red flag that they are a scammer. It does not matter that they look like the celebrity, they edited their video to look like them.
#4 Sextortion Scams
Scammers will pretend to be females and go on dating apps to look for victims with dirty intentions. The scammers lure the men off the dating app onto other messaging apps such as Kik, WhatsApp, Google Hangouts, or text messaging. From there, the scammers send dirty text messages and fake photos to the men to convince them to send a picture back. Once the man does, the scammer blackmails him by stating that she’s going to send that photo to everyone he knows unless he sends her money. The man complies and sends her money until he becomes bankrupt.
How to Avoid: Don’t send anyone photos or dirty text messages that you don’t know online. Scammers will take advantage of the fact that you sent them something private in order to get their hands on your life savings. Even if you sent them something, don’t send them any money. Chances are that their threats are empty and will not send the photo of you to your family and friends. If they do, tell your family and friends the truth and ask them for help, even if it’s scary. They care about you and want to be there for you. If the threats continue, contact law enforcement.
#3 Phishing Scams
Scammers will send out April Fools’ Day-themed emails and messages, thinking that it will attract more victims to want to open it. Once they open the phishing email or message, it instructs them to click on a link for something that the victims can’t resist. However, once the victim clicks on the link malware gets installed onto their device without even knowing it. This malware can steal personal information, account information, and financial information. Most of the time, there is also a form for the victim to fill out their information so scammers can use it to steal their identity and money.
How to Avoid: Don’t open any unfamiliar emails or messages from senders you don’t know. If the sender looks familiar, make sure to verify with them that they sent the message by calling them before opening it. If it’s from a company, make sure the email address ends in the company’s name versus “gmail.com” or “yahoo.com.” Also, don’t click on any links within a suspicious email. If you are ever unsure about the link, go onto the official company’s website instead of clicking the link. Do your research on a site before shopping on it, or providing it with any of your information.
#2 Identity Theft Scams
Scammers will do anything they can to get their hands on victims’ personal information. They come up with creative excuses as to why they might need their victims’ names, birthdays, and social security numbers. Then, once the victim provides them with this information, the scammers can use it to pretend to be them while applying for credit cards, unemployment, or other financial assistance. They can also request their victims’ bank account information and steal their money without the victims realizing it.
How to Avoid: Don’t give out your personal information to anyone that you meet on the Internet. It doesn’t matter what the reasoning is behind someone wanting your information, the reason is always a lie so that you will give them what they want. If you believe someone has your personal information, report it at IdentityTheft.gov.
#1 Romance Scams
Romance scammers are the worst… They go onto dating apps and social media sites with fake photos and names, then lure their victims in with flirty messages. Once the victim is interested in talking to them, they continue to send more flirty messages to them. They usually copy romantic messages from the scammer’s playbook and paste them to their victims, making them fall in love with the scammers at a quick rate. Once the victims are hooked, the scammers come up with excuses as to why the victims need to send them money. They continuously ask for money until they drain their victims’ bank accounts.
How to Avoid: Video chat or meet them in person before starting a serious relationship with them. Don’t give them money or gift cards for any reason, no matter how bad the emergency is. Most of the time, any emergency excuse someone tells you online is fake. They are only making the situation sound bad so that there is a sense of urgency for you to send them money. They know how much you care about them and play with your feelings so that they can steal your cash.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
At Social Catfish, we want to help you verify the identities of those who might seem suspicious to you. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image, you can reverse search and see who the suspected person was that you’ve been in contact with after reading about the top 5 April Fools’ Day scams. If you were involved in a scam, make sure to report it to the FTC as well.