Don't be fooled by Facebook Messenger con artists!
Be on the lookout for scammers using Facebook Messenger to trick you into handing over your personal information or money.
How the scam works
You receive a Facebook message that looks like it’s from a friend or relative. The message is really from a scammer who has either hacked your friend’s account, or created a separate lookalike profile by stealing photos and personal information about that person.
Scammers are hoping you will trust the message because it appears to be from someone you know.
The message says that you qualify for lottery winnings, prizes or some other form of ‘free money’. The catch is that you need to pay upfront first, with the scammer claiming the money pays for the ‘delivery’ or ‘processing’.
Other versions of this scam try to trick you into parting with personal information. For example, the scammer might ask you to click on a link to complete an application form that requires personal information, such as your address and bank details.
By clicking on these links, you risk your device being infected with malware. Or the link may take you to a fake website where your enter your login details into a website that looks like a Facebook login page – from here your login details can be stolen.
How to spot this scam
- Watch out for people claiming to be a friend or relative. By impersonating your close contacts, scammers will often use the urgency of a fake emergency, with very little detail, in order to get you to hand over personal and financial details.
- Be mindful of your friends' and family members’ typical behaviours on and offline. Email messages, social posts and Facebook Messenger chats that claim to be from them could be from a hacked or impersonated account if the tone and language is out of character for that person.
Remember, if you’re unsure if the person who has contacted you is who they really say they are, contact them by an alternative method such as a phone call or text to confirm if the message is really from them.
Protect yourself and others from these scams
- Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook. Alert Facebook to fake profiles, compromised accounts, and spam messages by reporting them.
- Alert your friend or family member if you think their account may have been hacked. You should contact them via an alternative method, such as a phone call or text, and not the message received through Messenger.
- Follow Stay Smart Online’s advice on socialising safely online.
- Learn more about how to protect yourself from scams.