Twitter users who have been victimized by online scams can now receive support and guidance from a new tool that started appearing on the social media site on Tuesday.
The tool notifies users that "help is available" and provides links to sites offering advice on coping with fraud and scams. Supported by Citizens Advice to commemorate Scams Awareness Fortnight, the tool can be seen at the top of search results when a user searches for information on online scams. It will lead them to the Citizens Advice website and its Online Scams Helper, a report on Tivy Side Advertiser said.
This tool was previously used to guide users to credible COVID-19-related information.
Online Scams 2021: 30 Million Victimized Since Start of Pandemic, Study Says
The helpful prompt comes amid a stark rise in fraudulent incidents in 2021, with Citizens Advice noting that there have been more than 30 million victims of scams this year. These scammers, Citizens Advice head of product Kylie Havelock said on The Independent, victimizes even the savviest Internet users.
Such scams had led to losses of life savings and even marriage or relationship break-ups, Havelock further said. According to her, this increase in online scams since the pandemic started underscores the need for "consumer protection and online safety measures in a rapidly evolving digital world."
British Man Duped in Online Romance Scam
According to Daily Record report, new research reveals a troubling rise in online romance scams since the pandemic--with 7,500 reports of isolated and vulnerable individuals being victimized. The report said a 65-year-old British man had been scammed out of nearly £4,000 after meeting the fraudster on Twitter posing as a young woman. Eventually, he learned that he was messaging with a man in Nigeria.
The man said he felt "heartbroken and very upset." Twitter, the report said, suspended the scammer's account after the man reported the incident. In a statement, Twitter said that it is against the site's policy to utilize scam tactics on the platform to collect money or gather financial information. This romance scam victim has become the ideal user that could get assistance or guidance from the new Twitter tool.
The new tool offers users "clear and credible advice" to help them deal with such incidents.
Twitter Expresses Support for Initiative vs. Online Scams
Twitter expressed support for the initiative as it had been seeking ways to provide users necessary, credible information on online scams. Katy Minshall, Twitter's head of public policy in the UK, said the microblogging site understands how scam victims deal with stress in coping with such incidents, especially during the pandemic, The Independent reported.
Twitter's focus remains in assisting users get accurate information on the platform and stay informed in how to report such incidents.
Minshall expressed satisfaction that Twitter's partnership with Citizens Alliance has led to providing helpful advice and information about scams to Twitter users, enhancing the social media site's initiatives in curbing illegal online activities.