Scam Watch: Facebook 'friend' doesn't fall for attempted scam

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

A scammer masquerading as a Facebook friend didn't fool a Shelbyville woman -- and failed in an attempt to gain $3,500 or more.

"Grammatical errors" and a sense that something just wasn't right made the intended victim know the messages weren't actually from her friend -- but from a hacked account.

"I got a Facebook message asking if I'd heard her good news," the intended victim said. "She said she'd been approved for a grant for the disabled and that I ought to apply as well."

The woman, who also has a disability, questioned further.

Honesty claim

"She gave me a number to call and stressed honesty. I sent a text and the lady gave me a name. She asked for some basic information. I wasn't going to send her anything like my bank account or credit card numbers."

The intended victim was told by the scammer that her name wasn't in a database but that she'd qualified for the funds. And the scammer appeared to be in a rush.

"Her messages appeared to be coming from my friend's Facebook page," the woman said. "She asked for a clearing and mailing fee of $3,500, said if I sent more I'd get more, and asked if I could send the money right away. I responded that I was going to call the Better Business Bureau and district attorney. She said they were legitimate and asked that I send the money right away."

'Don't tell...'

She was told to keep the transaction quiet.

"They told me not to tell anyone and claimed if it was disclosed the IRS would take 40 percent of the money." she said. "I told them they were asking me to cheat the IRS.

"Then I got a message, supposedly from my friend, saying the prize was legitimate and was delivered right to her doorstep. They always said 'doorstep' and there were several grammatical errors my friend, who is very smart, wouldn't have made. I could tell the messages were from the same person."

The intended victim had a trick up her sleeve as well: a personal question the scammer couldn't answer.

"I responded back and asked, 'What area of the hospital did we work in for years?' I got another response saying 'You don't believe me' and trying to guilt trip me. She and I had only been in touch on Facebook for several years but I contacted one of her family members who said her account had been hacked not once but several times."

'Jig is up'

The scammer didn't give up.

"I messaged them and told them the jig is up. They still tried to convince me to send money and said they'd told her not to disclose anything." she said.

At that point she told them they were "lying, cheating scammers."

"I haven't heard from them since," she said.

Facebook pages are often compromised. Users are warned, in particular, not to accept friend requests from people they've already friended in the past.