LAPLACE — Det. Lt. Michael Shard, certified financial crimes investigator for the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office, estimates that 75% of the service calls his unit receives relate to social media and Internet scams.
Shard has seen people lose a significant amount of money by placing too much trust in people online.
“The most important thing is discipline,” Shard said. “You have to maintain a social media footprint with people that you are personally familiar with. There are so many instances of false online accounts.”
According to Shard, scammers will either create a fake account or take over an account of somebody you know and start seeking out that person’s friends.
“Once they’re confident in knowing that you believe the account is real, they might start saying things like, ‘Hey, I need help with money. Can you send me $50?’ They’ll test you with smaller amounts,” Shard…