In a general sense, it is probably good to be Mark Zuckerberg. Even if his company, Facebook, has been in the news for all the wrong reasons of late. After all, even if people are down on Facebook over privacy concerns, his life is not a bad one to be living.
It would be understandable if one wanted to switch lives with the Facebook CEO, but that’s not really something that can happen. What can happen, however, is people impersonating Zuckerberg, which is the crux of a new scam that is making the rounds.
Indeed, people are trying to convince victims they are Zuckerberg or Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, all in an effort to extort money from them. It sounds a bit unbelievable, but it’s true.
The accounts are, of course, fake
The scam targets people on both Facebook and Instagram (which is owned by Facebook), and it involves users of each service being contacted by accounts claiming to belong to Zuckerberg or Sandberg. The fake accounts then offer the victim hundreds of thousands of dollars in “winnings.”
However, now here’s the scam, the fraudsters say hundreds of dollars in iTunes gift cards or cash are necessary delivery fees to collect the funds.
The “New York Times” discovered that there were roughly 205 Facebook and Instagram accounts pretending to be Zuckerberg or Sandberg, with at least 51 of them trying to scam people. Many have been up for years, even though fake accounts are not allowed on either platform.
Most of the fake accounts have since been removed, but scams like this one have been around for a while. Unfortunately, they have resulted in people handing their money over.
Do not become a victim yourself
Facebook will continue to try and make sure fake accounts are not active on their sites, but that is an admittedly tough thing to guarantee. As long as scams work, there will always be people who try and pull them off.
As with many scams like this, the important thing is to remember that if a prize requires you to spend money to receive it, it’s probably not real. Both Zuckerberg and Sandberg, as well as many other prominent people, will have verified accounts, signified by a blue circle with a check mark next to their names.
Besides that, neither Zuckerberg nor Sandberg — or others like them — would message you about any kind of prize, and if anyone requires you send in money or gift cards in order to retrieve something you supposedly won, that itself is a giant red flag.
People are always trying to trick you
Ransomware is still the current biggest software security threat out there. Three new variants of a known ransomware strain are currently wreaking havoc and a massive campaign is underway to infect as many computers as possible. Click here to learn how not to download it yourself.