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Rise of the ‘Bait-and-Switch’ Scam on Social Media Platforms

August 23, 2023

An alarming trend has emerged on social media platforms where users’ compassion is exploited by online scammers using what’s known as a “bait-and-switch” technique.

Initially, these posts present seemingly urgent scenarios, such as injured animals or missing individuals, tugging at users’ heartstrings and encouraging them to share the content widely. However, once the post garners enough attention, scammers change its content to promote fraudulent links, often related to rental listings or deceptive advertisements.

Unaware that the content has been altered, the original sharers inadvertently continue to promote the scam link. Some users have expressed frustration over the lack of monitoring and control within social media groups, where these scams have become increasingly common.

Critics argue that more vigilant administration is needed within these groups to prevent the proliferation of such fraudulent content. They recommend users be cautious of signs that may indicate a bait-and-switch post, such as vague content, newly joined group members, or disabled comments.

This growing online phenomenon has led to calls for greater awareness and education among social media users. The experience has been a sobering lesson for many, emphasizing the need to think twice before sharing and to take swift action in alerting others when these deceptive posts are identified.

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