For scams that involve money on Facebook, cyber criminals will either create fake accounts or hack into existing Facebook accounts of people you may know. The fake or compromised accounts will then try to trick you into giving them money by sending you personalized messages in Facebook Messenger. If a scammer tries to message you, report them.
Here are some common money scams you should look out for when sending and receiving money in Facebook Messenger:
Lottery scams: Lottery scams are often carried out from accounts impersonating someone you know, or fake profiles pretending to represent an organization. The messages will claim that you’re among the winners of a lottery and that you can receive your money for a small advance fee. The scammer may ask you to provide personal information, such as your physical address or bank details.
Romance scams: Romance scammers typically send romantic messages to people they don’t know, often pretending to be divorced, widowed or in a bad marriage. To pay for things like flights or visas, they’ll engage in online relationships in hopes of receiving money. They may use photos they’ve found online of representatives from official institutions like the military or government agencies. Their goal is to gain your trust, so the conversations may continue for weeks before they ask for money.
Donation scams: These scams are done by accounts impersonating famous religious figures, or by accounts pretending to be representatives from various charities or orphanages. In the messages, the scammers will ask for donations.
Inheritance scams: The scammer will claim to be a lawyer or from another legal authority, pretending to represent the estate of a deceased person. The messages will state that you’re entitled to the inheritance. The scammer may ask you to provide personal information such as your physical address or bank details.
Loan scams: Loan scammers send messages and leave posts and comments on Facebook Pages and in Facebook Groups offering, or claiming to know someone offering, instant loans at a low interest rate for a small advance fee.
Government grant scams: If an individual contacts you about an opportunity to obtain free money in the form of a grant from the federal government, be extremely wary.
Free coupons: For this scam, you are promised free coupons at large retailers worth more than usual, or coupons for a free vacation. All you need to do is use your Facebook login on a site, and you’ll get a free vacation. However, instead of the free vacation your social media identity will be stolen.
Contest scams: This is another common scam, and it is as simple as setting up a fake page on Facebook, marketing it with a great contest, and collecting information from everyone that joined. One such scam claimed that those who shared the link would get a $1,000 IKEA gift card, and more than 40,000 people fell for it.
Remember, when in doubt or if you feel pressured, don’t send money. If you lose money to a scam, it is extremely hard to recover the lost money. So, take care to ensure you are being diligent. If you are unsure, please contact Educators Credit Union, we are here to assist you.