There’s a new Facebook lottery scam doing the rounds and according to WA ScamNet, quite a significant amount of people are falling victim to the scam.
It’s human nature to love winning things. Whether it’s a sweepstake, vacation or the lottery, finding out you are a winner is exciting.
Latest Facebook lottery scam
The latest Facebook lottery scam doing the rounds works through Facebook messenger. You receive a message from a scammer who is posing as one of your friends telling you that you have been named as a recipient for some lottery winnings and that the friend’s name was on the winner’s list as well.
You think it sounds odd but on closer inspection, the profile looks like the real thing. However, it is a cloned profile from a hacker.
You are then asked to either click a link or contact the lottery agent to provide some details to claim the prize. Thinking that you can trust your friend you provide the details, which include financial information for upfront fees that will ensure their winnings will be received.
While there are millions of Facebook users who are aware of these scams and would immediately smell a rat, more than $600,000 has been made by various hackers who pose as trusted friends.
Another way these scammers work through Facebook is by sending you a friend request. You notice that they are mutual friends with someone you are already friends with on Facebook.
Your first thought is that either there might have been a glitch in the site or they’ve unfriended you – so you accept them again. Once you do so, you get a message from that person telling you you’ve won a prize and to click on a link and send money to claim it.
In reality, fraudsters have cloned your friend’s Facebook account and are using it to pretend to be the person you know. More often than not, your friends’ account has been hacked.
If anything like this happens to you, report the page and let your friend know as soon as possible.
Things to watch out for:
- People asking you for money and you don’t know them in person.
- People asking you to send them money or gift cards to receive a prize.
- Anyone asking you to pay a fee in order to apply for a job.
- Pages representing large companies, organizations or public figures that are not verified.
- People asking you to move your conversation off Facebook to a less public platform.
- People who misrepresent where they are located. If someone signs up for Messenger using their mobile phone number, you may be able to check which country their phone number is from. If you're concerned that a Page may be scamming you, you can check the Page's location.
- Messages or posts with poor spelling and grammatical mistakes.
- People or accounts directing you to a Page to claim a prize.
How to protect yourself
Scammers are well aware that people trust their friends. It’s for this reason that they are now exploiting this avenue. The minute you realise that your Facebook account may have been hacked, you should immediately inform your friends and change your password. You should also report it to Facebook.
Reset Your Facebook Password
If the hacker did change your password and you can no longer log into your Facebook account, act quickly. Try to regain access. There is a “Forgot your password?” link underneath the Facebook login.
Block them in Facebook messenger
If you have received a message from someone who you think could be trying to scam you, immediately block them in Messenger.
To do so, open Facebook Messenger, and search for a conversation with the person who you would like to block. Tap the small blue exclamation mark displayed at the top-right corner of your screen to display the Details page. Then, tap Block.
Remember, legitimate lotteries will never ask for any money. They do not need funds for shipping, taxes or customs. If they want money for any reason, they are most definitely scammers.
If you have not entered into a contest or purchased a lottery ticket, you cannot possibly win. Remember, if a message you received sounds too good to be true, it most likely is.
Although there will always be scammers in the world, by being alert and proactive you can always stay in control of all your social media platforms and carry on enjoying all the benefits that they offer.
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