Facebook is a scammer's dream come true. Where else can they find an easy-to-reach audience of 1.3 billion people? Even if only 1% of people see the scam and only 1% of those people fall for the scam, that's still 130,000 people, and you could be one of them if you aren't careful.
Spotting Facebook scams can be tough because they come in a lot of different forms. Earlier this year, we told you about five common types of scams you'll find on Facebook. Knowing what to look for in general is good, but today we're going to warn you about three specific scams happening right now that you need to avoid.
1. Lottery scam
If you get a message from a Facebook friend saying that they've won a $30,000 lottery on Facebook, watch out. That's exactly what happened to a Nevada woman this week.
Someone on Facebook named Theresa Paddock contacted her to tell her she won the lottery. To get her money, however, she'd have to wire $150 to cover "insurance" and other fees. She did, but didn't get her winnings. Instead, some man started reaching out to her to try and get more from her.
If this sounds familiar, it's because we reported the same scam tricking an Indiana woman a few months ago. In the case of the Indiana woman, she wired $850, and then got asked to wire more to get an even bigger prize.
Of course, in the case of the Indiana woman, hackers had taken over a friend's Facebook page and were using that relationship to trick her. In both cases, the victims aren't going to see their money again.
How to avoid this scam:
- If a friend tells you they won something and you can too, call or email them and make sure you're actually talking to them.
- Don't send money to someone with the promise of getting money or a prize back. It's called an "Advanced fee" scam, and it never ends well.
- Never wire money to anyone, whether it's through Western Union, MoneyGram or another service. Once you wire money, it's gone forever.