Scam alert: Fast money hits social media

You see a photo of a pile of cash on Instagram or another social media site. The caption brags about an easy money flipping scheme. This person claims to have "flipped" a couple hundred dollars into thousands, and he or she offers to do the same for you.

HOW THE SCAM WORKS

Money flipping on Instagram. Caption reads: "Who trying to make some money? Flip 200 to 2,000 fast and quick money. Only business."

Money's been tight lately, so the post piques your interest. You check out the profile behind the post, and he or she appears to be a real person with photos and followers. The account may even have dozens of "thank you" comments from satisfied past "investors." You decide to give it a shot, and send him or her a message. This "investor" tells you that it's easy to get started.

All you need to do is put $100 or more on a prepaid debit card from your local convenience store. The greater the value, the more money you can make. Then, share the card number and PIN, and the "investor" will do the rest. Unfortunately, giving out the card number and PIN allows the "investor" to withdraw money from the card. Typically, the scammer drains the card and then blocks you from contacting their social media account.

Read more from the Cleveland Advocate, a Houston Community Newspaper partner