A woman in Cleremont, Florida, was conned out of thousands of dollars in a Facebook scam that promised her she had won $150,000. Of course, the scammers asked that she pay “taxes” on the winnings first, forking over thousands of dollars in advance fees before she could claim her prize. The scam, which came from her Facebook friend’s hacked account, prompted her to send $4,200 to Nigeria via Western Union, and the loss of money caused her to be thrown out of her home.
Unfortunately, scams like this one rely on people’s trust in their friends to spread. By exploiting online connections that people trust, cybercriminals are far more likely to convince their marks to send cash. However, as easy as it sounds to spot scams like this, they are becoming more and more complex and sophisticated; the woman also received threatening phone calls and text messages from someone who said they were with the IRS. The individual threatened the woman with jail time if she did not pay more money. While it may seem obvious to savvy Internet users that that kind of tactic is a hoax, it’s also scary, and can be used to intimidate targets like the 67-year-old Florida woman. That and the temptation for a large payday down the road can be too much to resist.
“I live on a fixed income you know and I’m 67 years old,” she said. “All of this money just seemed like it was saying, ‘Come get me.'”
For more information on this and other Freebie Facebook scams, be sure to check out:
Beware of Facebook Freebies