Scams can take many forms on Facebook, from con artists impersonating military personnel to acting like a potential romantic partner to solicit money. However, a new scam in Detroit seeks to take advantage of people down on their luck by impersonating a district court clerk’s office.
The con involves fake Facebook pages offering a discount on court fines if debtors pay through Western Union. What makes this scam so effective is that the court in question has offered similar limited-time deals before, waiving the late fees on people’s fines if they paid the outstanding amount by a certain date. However, the court issued a strong statement warning Detroiters not to fall for the Western Union con.
“The court would never request payment to be made through Western Union or directly through social media,” officials said in a press release. “Any amnesty programs, special promotions, or waivers will be announced on the court’s website and official Facebook page.”
Even though it seems obviously suspicious to send money to a government court through Western Union, it’s also easy to see how this con could fool people. The court does advertise real deals on its Facebook page, so it’s understandable that someone would see an offer like this on Facebook and assume it’s real. But, as always, it can save a lot of time, money and heartache to be skeptical up front of posts asking for money.