• Business scams linked to increased presence on social media


    It's not just individuals who can fall victim to scams, businesses are vulnerable too.

    "What what you're doing! If it sounds too good to be true, it is," said Leslie Wurst, the owner of Listen Hear in Shadyside.

    Wurst can't say it enough: she said if someone is offering you a deal that sounds way too good, just tear it up. But Wurst doesn't just tear it up, she fights back.

    "I was so upset with the gentleman, I printed off a bunch of little flyers that said 'You should be ashamed of yourself', and I put them in an envelope and I mailed them out to him," said Wurst.

    Wurst contacted 11 Investigates because she's fed up with the thieves. She said over the last six months, her home entertainment business has had a dramatic uptick in scammers. And 11 Investigates' Katherine Amenta learned it's not a coincidence: it's because of her business' social media presence.

    "When we started getting calls for international, or across state lines, I knew something was up," said Wurst.

    Her instincts were right. According to several watchdog groups, social media phishing attacks went up between 200 and 500 percent over the last year. Experts say, when you put your life or your business out there for the world to see, criminals see it too.

    "You're trying so hard as a business, and you want customers and you don't want to feel like every customer that comes through you have to scrutinize," said Wurst.

    Fortunately, Wurst has not fallen for a scam yet, and keeps track of all the offers in her "scam folder". But her warning isn't just for small businesses: it can save everyone from becoming a victim.

    First: if you receive a check, read it carefully. Wurst got one from from Tennessee that looked legitimate, but upon further review, it wasn't.
    Second: always read emails for awkward language or odd demands.

    You can also do some research on the person reaching out to you by searching their name on Google. Many times, scammers use the same names for multiple scams.

    And always report suspicious activity to the police and the State Attorney General's office.








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