We realize that this is the Electronic age and all that we do today revolves around our cell phones, tablets or notebook computers. As we proceed in our daily life, we encounter several situations in which persons of questionable morals, attempt to steal from us. We at the Sheriff’s office investigate these matters on a daily basis.
The newest thing is that the use of Facebook is becoming ever more popular as a portal to attempt to steal from you or your loved ones. Therefore, I am here to let you know what to look for and what you can do to prevent these incidents from happening to you or one of your loved ones. Help us help you.
If you are on Facebook, watch out for scammers using Messenger. In the past month, BBB Scam Tracker has received dozens of reports about con artists are using Facebook Messenger to promote phony grants.
How the Scam Works
You get a Facebook Messenger chat that looks like it comes from a friend or relative. Scammers will either hack an account or create a separate lookalike profile by stealing photos and personal information. Either way, scammers are banking that you will trust a message that appears to come from someone you know.
The scammer – posing as a friend or family member – will send you a message claiming you qualify for "free money" from the government or other organization. They will also claim that you can make money by buying into a business venture, which promises a large return of money. The catch is that you need to pay upfront first. The con artist will claim the money pays for "delivery" or "processing."
Others will pose as familiar organizations (Publishers Clearing House, etc.), proposing that you have won a large prize such as vehicles or money, you just need to mail a check for taxes or processing up front to an address which may be local.
Other versions of this scam is to trick you into parting with personal information instead of money. These cons ask you to complete an application form that requires personal information, such as your address and Social Security number.
How to spot this scam:
- Be wary of your friends' tastes online: Your friend or family member may have impeccable judgment in real-life, but email messages, social posts, and Facebook Messenger chats could be from a hacked or impersonated account.
- Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook: Alert Facebook to fake profiles, compromised accounts, and spam messages by reporting them to Facebook administrators.
What you can do to help prevent this:
- Passwords: Change your password frequently on your account. By doing this, it makes it harder for scammers to hack into your account. Make your password a mixture of letters and numbers with special characters in the mix. These types of passwords are harder for hackers or scammers to discover.
- Talk to friends: If you receive one of these messages from a friend or loved one, call them to confirm that they have sent this message to you. If they have not, please advise them that their account may have been hacked or duplicated. Have them report this to Facebook administrators.
- Report: If you, a friend, or a loved one has been a victim of this, please make a police report to your local authorities to document the occurrence and so the authorities can investigate it properly.
Please be careful, as the cyber communities are dangerous in the fact of these people who will try to steal from you and me. PLEASE BE SAFE AND GOD BLESS.