(KDVR) — New Federal Trade Commission numbers show Americans lost nearly $9 billion to scams in 2022, up nearly $2 billion since 2021.
Crooks are branching out from social media onto video streaming platforms, the latest using YouTube to lure those looking for a great deal on gaming equipment.
Sean O’Brien told FOX31 that he feels “stupid, vulnerable, mad” after paying more than $300 to scammers offering Play Station game consoles in the comments section of a YouTube page. O’Brien said a fee was required to be eligible to receive the prize, but the scammers kept asking for additional money.
“By the fifth time, I said you know what, you guys should say there’s all these fees upfront, and I said I’m not paying any more money,” O’Brien said.
At that point, the scammers said he would not receive the PlayStation and then refused to provide a refund.
How to detect scams on YouTube
Tech security expert Donald Mclaughlin of CP Cyber told the Problem Solvers that the scheme is becoming more common because scammers can appear in the comments on any enabled YouTube page, usually using fake company names.
“When you get on the comments section, you are posting about something you enjoy, you like, so people will try to take advantage of that and they will post about something that you want or like,” McLaughlin said.
McLaughlin recommended checking out websites with a Google search and reverse phone number search, and he said to investigate how long a company has been operating or whether it is actually registered.
“If the request comes from the internet, it’s probably not trustworthy,” McLaughlin warned.
O’Brien reported the scheme to the FTC and the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
Reporting scammers is highly recommended and crucial in fighting the growing scam industry.