When it comes to Facebook scams, it’s often easy to wonder how someone could be gullible enough to fall for one. After all, they’re usually pretty obvious—at least to the skeptical eye. However, this kind of victim-blaming ignores the very real toll these cons can take on innocent, everyday people. Case in point: a man named Frank who reached out to NJ.com to share his story of losing $50,000 in a Facebook scam.
It started in June 2015 when Frank received a friend request from a woman named “Kim” who claimed to be stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army. She asked for his help getting a few packages sent from Ghana to the United States. Of course, the scammer behind the “Kim” profile told Frank that the package contained $10.5 million in cash and $70,000 in gold bars. Soon Frank was sending thousands of dollars overseas in fees and legal payments to obtain the package, but it never arrived. Before he knew it, he was down $50,000 and reported the scam to the police. But the damage had been done.
“[It] cost me everything. Multiple bank accounts and CDs along with an entire retirement account,” he said. “To be honest, when she brought the proposal about the consignment I was skeptical, but in the back of my mind I thought, ‘Why would someone from the U.S. Army want to scam me?'”
These scams may seem easy to spot, but that’s not always the case. Be sure to warn loved ones—especially older relatives—to look out for this kind of predatory online con.