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Watch out for this Facebook lottery scam

Facebook scams are nothing new. They seem to be popping up every week or two.

Many times these scams piggyback on news that is trending across the U.S. The latest example lures victims in by preying on their hopes and dreams. It’s really awful!

Watch out for this scam spreading on social media

I don’t usually play the lottery. Unless of course, the jackpot reaches hundreds of millions of dollars. Then, like most people, I buy a couple tickets and start dreaming about the wonderful things I would do with the winnings. Can you imagine?

You’re probably aware that somebody won one of these massive jackpots last week. Mavis Wanczyk from Massachusetts hit one of the largest Powerball jackpots in history, over $750 million. She chose to take the lump sum and after taxes received $336.3 million. Wow!

Now, cybercriminals are creating fake social media accounts in her name in the latest like-farming scam. Accounts are popping up on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, all promising to share some of the massive winnings with those who like her page and follow her.

The Chicopee Police Department released this statement, “We are well aware of many fake accounts being created on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram stating they are Mavis Wanczyk and that following and answering private messages will result in you getting money. PLEASE do not fall for these scams.

“DO NOT give out any personal information to these accounts. Do not fall victim to a scammer by releasing ANY of your information. Thanks and please share. I would also suggest, if you see these accounts, report them as fake on those media platforms.”

If you see fake posts like this in your News Feed, report it to Facebook. That could help stop it from spreading more widely.

Here are the steps to report a post:

  1. Click the downward pointing arrow in the top-right corner of the post.
  2. Click Report post or Report photo.
  3. Select the option that best describes the issue and follow the on-screen instructions.

Wanczyk didn’t have a social media account before winning the lottery. She responded to the scams by creating an official Facebook page and posting this statement, “Hello friends and family, I don’t have a Twitter nor[sic] Instagram account. Any other page apart from this, is a scam. Thanks Mavis Wanczyk.”

How to handle like-farming scams

There are many scams on social media and most of them can be used for like-farming. Typically, you’ll see a post that asks you to like and share it so you can win something.

It isn’t just posts either; it can also be pages. A scammer might set up a page for “I love zombies” or what appears to be a legitimate company or organization.

Just enough content is posted to get a ton of likes, then the scammer switches the content for spam and/or malicious links that could infect your gadget. Once you’ve liked the page, everything new the cybercriminal puts up goes on your News Feed, and in some cases, your friends’ feeds as well.

In this case, the scammers are trying to get victims to reveal personal information so they can rip them off. One fraudulent Facebook page using Wanczyk’s name and image has already received nearly 4,000 likes. Don’t fall for this scam.

Follow these tips and they will help you avoid Facebook like-farming scams:

  • Your best bet is to be very judicious about what you like and share on Facebook. Don’t just reflexively click “like” on everything.
  • Take a look at where the post is coming from. If it’s from someone you don’t recognize, it could be a friend of a friend or it could be a complete stranger. It would be good to find out.
  • Notice the content and whether it promises anything for liking or sharing. If it does, it’s a good clue that it’s a scam of some kind. The same goes if you feel pressured into clicking like or share.

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