Scam Alert: Con Artists Move to Facebook Messenger
What’ll the scammers think of next?
You probably know to watch for scams in your email inbox, on the phone, and in a text message. However, if you are on Facebook, look out for scams using Messenger. BBB is seeing an increase in reports of scammers reaching victims through Facebook Messenger.
How the Scam Works
You get a Facebook Messenger chat that looks like it comes from a friend or relative. In some cases, scammers have hacked into your friend’s Facebook account. In other versions, the scammer creates a separate look-alike account by stealing your friend’s photos. Either way, scammers are banking that you will trust a message that appears to come from someone you know.
Currently, the most commonly reported Facebook Messenger con in BBB Scam Tracker is the government grant scam (bbb.org/grantscam). In this con, the scammer – posing as a friend or family member – will send you a message claiming you qualify for money from the government. To receive the grant, the scammer requires you to pay a “processing fee” or an “application fee” first. The scammer keeps this money and disappears.
But just because government grant scams are currently the top cons on Facebook Messenger, doesn’t mean they are the only ones. Be on the lookout for sales scams (bbb.org/webpurchasescam), investment scams (bbb.org/investmentscam), and others.
How to spot this scam:
- Be wary of your friends’ tastes online: Your friend or family member may have impeccable judgment in real-life. But online, email messages, social posts, and Facebook Messenger chats could be from a hacked or impersonated account.
- Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook: Alert Facebook to fake profiles, compromised accounts, and spam messages by reporting them.
- Learn more on BBB.org: Most scams follow similar patterns. Learn more about government grant scams (bbb.org/grantscam), financial scams (bbb.org/investmentscam), and online shopping scams (bbb.org/webpurchasescam).
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