Canberrans have been scammed out of more than $26,000 on social media platforms in 2019, prompting calls for users to be more wary of their online interactions and privacy.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's Scamwatch service received 101 local reports between January 1 and June 30 where social media was the method of contact.
Of these, 36 were related to Facebook shopping and classifieds scams, with combined losses of more than $8800. Another 32 reported Facebook scams could have been related to online romances, or theft of personal information.
Instagram had the second-highest number of reports, with 27 scams amounting to more than $3300 in losses; of these, shopping scams accounted for 16, leaving Canberrans some $650 out-of-pocket.
Another six scams related to other social media platforms.
"I think it teaches a lesson about not judging books by their covers; it's definitely the same when it comes to organisations," Australian National University marketing lecturer Dr Andrew Hughes said.
"Don't judge them based on their website or their social media profile.
"You need to judge them on what they are known to be and how they perform."
The other 11 Instagram scams could have been related to "influencers" getting free services or products in exchange for a promotion, only for it to garner no results, Dr Hughes said.
"Basically, they're famous for being famous, but not much else," he said.
Facebook's marketplace also had an unsophisticated rating system, with users able to select either a smiling or frowning face to indicate their experience with a buyer or seller.
They could also select reasons for why they gave that rating.
"There aren't guarantees, or checks and balances [on Facebook], so it does leave the door open for fraudsters and scammers," Dr Hughes said.
"Perhaps they need to expand [on their rating system] and make it more rigorous."
Scamwatch's data only accounted for incidents where Canberrans made a report to the service; something 21-year-old Scarlett Simonis-Van Deyk did not do because of the detail required.
Miss Simonis-Van Deyk bought a ticket to the 2019 Groovin the Moo at Exhibition Park from a woman advertising it on the music festival's Facebook page.
Her profile seemed "legitimate", and she paid the woman $120 through "cardless cash" collection at an ATM. After forking out another $80 for an Uber to get to the festival, staff told Miss Simonis-Van Deyk the ticket's code was invalid, and another 60 people had been scammed with it.
"She blocked me before I could ask for the money back," Miss Simonis-Van Deyk said.
"I'm never going to buy off someone on the internet again unless I go and see them face to face and actually get the tickets from them."
Miss Simonis-Van Deyk suspects the woman's Facebook profile was fake.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said people should only buy tickets for festivals and events through authorised sellers, and never give out their personal, credit card or online account information to anyone they don't know or trust.
A product or service could be a scam if it is advertised at an unbelievably low price, or claims to have amazing benefits or features that sound too good to be true.
"Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment especially via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency," the spokeswoman said.