UPDATED: Friday, April 13, 2012 - 9:54am
WACO -- Before social media sites came along scammers had to do serious legwork to gather information about their targets.
Now, all that information is at their fingertips.
"It's amazing the personal information that people will put out on Facebook or YouTube or other things. interests and likes, pictures, hobbies where they've been where they're going," said Richard Kitterman, regional director of the Better Business Bureau.
Making users vulnerable to scammers.
"Then they can just insert themselves into your life, you trust them a lot quicker and then they put this pitch on you and a lot of times the pitch has an affinity to it." said Kitterman.
Officials also warn of testimonials. Scam artists frequently pay out high returns to early investors using money from later investors known as a Ponzi scheme.
The best tip is to employ a healthy skepticism.
"Step back, take some time. Ask is this real? do some investigation," said Kitterman.
And don't fall for the sense of urgency.
"They know that the more time passes, the more likely you are to investigate it and discover that for what, what it is," said Kitterman.
Before investing any money officials advise confirm registration and licensing.
You can check the reliability and trustworthiness of a company at www.bbb.org