WARNING: Elaborate scheme takes your money through bogus Facebook lotteries

WARNING: Elaborate scheme takes your money through bogus Facebook lotteries

MISSOURI (KFVS) - Facebook users need to be on the lookout for thieves trying to take your money.

An elaborate scheme to steal the green in your wallet through bogus Facebook lotteries is gaining steam.

The Consumer Fraud Task Force is issuing a new warning about the five-year-old lottery scams because they have become more sophisticated in recent months.

The thieves are reportedly looking for new ways to deceive scam-wary consumers.

According to the Better Business Bureau, an Eolia, MO. woman is out thousands of dollars because of the scam.

The BBB reports thieves tricked the victim into believing she had won a $200,000 lottery prize on Facebook.

However, to get the prize, the scammers told her she must wire two payments totaling $3,750 to Texas as taxes on her winnings.

The woman told the BBB the situation was devastating.

How does it work:

Thieves will typically steal the identity of a Facebook friend and message you about a big winning.

In some cases, the scammers will also set up what appears to be an official government Facebook page. This page contains fake photos of other Facebook lottery "winners" holding giant checks.

You might also receive a lottery certificate identifying her as a winner.

The thieves will tell you that you must pay taxes on the winnings. They will require you to wire money to a specified location.

They key: don't pay any money! Facebook does not sponsor a lottery.

"Anyone who tries to get you to pay any money in advance of receiving a prize is trying to steal your money," the BBB reports.

How to avoid it:

You can make sure you don't become a victim of these scams by following these steps:

  • If you believe a friend’s Facebook identity may have been stolen, stop talking with him or her until you have investigated. Hackers have become good at stealing Facebook identities and then using those identifies to convince others to give up money or personal information. If you have any reason to believe you may not be communicating with a friend or family member, verify the person’s identity by phone or email.
  • Be cautious of clicking on unfamiliar sites and be particularly cautious about giving anyone any personal information through these sites.
  • Be suspicious of anyone you do not know asking to “friend” you on Facebook. Thieves often use this as a first step in gaining your trust in hopes of stealing money or personal information.
  • If you receive a friend request from someone you know, first check to see if you're already friends with that person. If you recognize a page as a fake, you can report it at: https://www.facebook.com/help/174210519303259?ref=u2u
  • Facebook says if an email or post looks strange, don’t click any links or open any attachments, and report it to the company. Emails can be forwarded to phish@fb.com. Learn how to report suspicious Facebook messages by going to: https://www.facebook.com/help/199655413426788/?ref=u2u To learn more about suspicious emails or notifications, visit the Facebook Help Center at: https://www.facebook.com/help/324203247669141/?ref=u2u

Similar schemes:

The Better Business Bureau says this is just one of the many schemes directed at Facebook users designed to steal your money and personal information.

Common ones include:

  • Facebook romance schemes. Thieves ask for money after developing a romantic relationship with the victim.
  • Privacy hoaxes. Thieves claiming to represent Facebook try to charge users to keep their pages private or their information secure.
  • Phony Facebook quizzes. Thieves try to get users to click on fake quizzes or tests to hijack their computer or steal information.

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