New Facebook Messenger threat scams users with millions in phony winnings

Facebook pages cloned by scammers
Posted at 7:32 AM, Aug 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-10 18:37:29-04

An exclusive 5 On Your Side investigation has uncovered a new scam targeting Facebook users by promising millions in phony winnings.

A spokesperson for Facebook says the company "has a dedicated team to detect and block these kinds of scams" and is providing tools for users to rely on if they suspect they are victims of a scam.

In addition, the Ohio Attorney General's Office has receivedat least a dozen complaints from consumers reporting fraudulent Facebook activity.

"We're hearing a lot about these scams," says Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who urges consumers to report scams to its consumer complaint unit.

Facebook users are even provided phony identification from scammers pretending to FBI and CIA agents to bolster credibility and decrease suspicion.

But before Facebook users can "claim" their winnings they must first send hundreds of dollars in cash to complete the transaction.

"The hook is — the reason it works so well — it's a friend contacting you," said DeWine. "You think it's a friend."

In this case, Facebook users respond to what appears to be a message from a friend. They're told they have been selected as "winners" and are given instructions on how to claim hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Instead, their "friends'" Facebook page has been hacked, allowing scammers to pose as legitimate friends.

In one recent case, a Cuyahoga Falls woman was scammed out of $1,200 before realizing it was all a scam.

The FBI estimates scams like these cost American consumers millions of dollars every year.

Report a scam to Facebook here.