Area consumers say that they are being told through Facebook Messenger they’ve won money or grants…but there are fees required to receive them. Better Business Bureau® serving Central & Eastern Kentucky warns Facebook users that such messages are fraudulent.
A Whitley County Facebook user told BBB that a Facebook “friend” messaged her that her name was on a list to receive a “windfall” and gave her an out-of-state phone number to text for details. She thought this did not sound legitimate, and suspected that her friend’s Facebook account had been hacked by a scammer.
Another Facebook user emailed BBB that a woman messaged her that she’d won money from Publisher’s Clearinghouse, but must pay a $200.00 fee to receive it. And a Boyd County Facebook user was told by someone through messenger that she could get financial help from a legitimate charitable group…but led her to a phone number to text that was not that group at all. They too, wanted a processing fee.
This is a common scam exploiting the ties that Facebook users have with other Facebook “friends.” Scammers will “hack” or replicate a user’s account, then send messages to everyone on that person’s Facebook friend list. This increases the chances that someone could fall for a scam, because the message came from someone they believed was a person they know.
BBB reminds the public that legitimate notifications of prize winnings or grants do NOT come via social media…and it is illegal to require a fee to collect a prize.
Tips to help protect against Facebook scams:
- Don’t believe everything you read on Facebook Messenger, even if it appears to be from someone you know and trust…especially if it involves receiving or sending money.
- Don’t automatically accept new Facebook Friend requests with names you know without first verifying that the person isn’t already on your “friend” list. If he/she is, it could be a sign that his/her account has been hacked.
- To help protect your Facebook account and “friends” list, go to “privacy settings” and choose the option to make your “friends” list visible to “only me” rather than “public.”
Check out bbb.org to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam, read tips, follow us on social media, and more! Report scams to www.bbb.org/scamtracker.
Contact the Better Business Bureau serving Central & Eastern Kentucky to check out companies, charities, or to report problems and scams by calling the Lexington office at (859) 259-1008 or toll-free 1-800-866-6668. Services are also available by logging on to www.bbb.org/lexington.
Source: Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky