Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with family members and friends, but it also used frequently among scammers to identify and communicate with potential victims. Here are three scams to watch out for.
Beware of the following three scams that commonly occur on Facebook:
1. Facebook Friend Impersonator – You receive a message on Facebook from one of your friends or relatives that tells you he or she has just won money and your name is on the list of winners too! Your “friend” will assure you of its legitimacy and how you only need to pay a small fee in taxes, shipping fees, or other fees in order to claim your money. In some instances, you will first receive a friend request from a friend or family member that proceeds to share the same type of message with you.
If this has happened, then your friend or family member’s account has been hacked, or a scammer has created a fake profile using your friend’s name, photos, and other information without permission. Facebook is an easy way for scammers to reach networks of people, and in this case, by posing as someone you trust. If you happen to add a scammer, they have access to information that could lead to identity theft or other fraudulent activity such as getting money from you in “fees.”
2. Facebook Lottery – You receive a message or email from someone claiming to be an employee of Facebook. The message states that you have won several thousand dollars in prize money and that you simply are responsible for paying a fee upfront in taxes. The “Facebook employee” may also message you to say a representative will pick up the payment in person at your house, or they may ask you to wire transfer the tax money. The only problem is that there’s no such thing as a Facebook lottery, and they will likely require you to pay upfront for taxes, shipping fees, processing fees, etc. If you are ever asked to pay for something you’ve won, it’s a scam!
3. Scammers Disguised as Military Personnel Asking for Help – Scammers, usually out of Ghana or Nigeria steal identities of real soldiers on social networking sites like Facebook and pose as military members. Others create identities off of British military members. After posting pictures and stories, the scammers contact women. After talking to you for a while, the scammer will ask you for your help. Scammers ask for everything from laptop computers to money for airfare so they can fly back to the U.S. and visit you. Victims have been cheated out of up to $23,000.
For more information on red flags and how to avoid becoming a victim of these scams, go to Watch Out for Facebook Scams on BBB.org.