Scammers posing as old friends on Facebook Messenger, fraud group says

Scammers posing as old friends on Facebook Messenger, fraud group says
A consumer advocacy group is warning about a new twist on a scam involving Facebook Messenger. (Source: Pixabay)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Consumer advocacy nonprofit Fraud.org is warning people about a new twist on a Facebook scheme involving scammers impersonating old friends on Facebook messenger.

The warning emerged after the website says around a dozen victims reported the scam in recent weeks.

Not all of it is new: A scammer pretending to be a long-lost friend, such as a former classmate, messages and you strike up a conversation.

The twist, according to Fraud.org, is this: After a while, the scammer asks you to send a text message to a number the scammer provides to get information on a grant, prize or even government stimulus funds.

Let’s say you comply. Then the scammer asks for an up-front fee and personal banking information or your Social Security number so you can collect on that money.

But the money never comes, and the scammer keeps asking for more wire transfers or gift cards, which according to Fraud.org, are difficult to stop or reverse.

The twist of taking the conversation to text message is likely an effort by the scammers to evade Facebook’s anti-fraud tech, the website says.

Here are their tips to avoid falling victim:

  • Don’t assume your Facebook friend is who they claim to be
  • Test them by asking a question only they would know the answer to
  • Beware of requests to take conversations off Facebook Messenger
  • Consider that anyone asking you to send money to get money is swindling you
  • Turn on two-factor authentication and encourage your friends to do the same.

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