The topic of scammers cloning accounts and submitting friend requests pretending to be someone you know has been going on for at least a decade. But unfortunately, many still fall for the scam, even here in Sebastian, Florida.
So we wanted to remind people, and we’ll discuss it in layman’s terms so that everyone understands. It’s never good to send money online to anyone who recently sent a friend request, even if you think the person might be someone you know. Likewise, anyone asking for money or sending you a link to fill something out online could be a scammer.
Alright, so let’s discuss how people get tricked into sending money. These scammers are professionals, skilled, and they are classic manipulators who use psychology to get what they want.
The scam starts when you receive a friend request from someone you already know, so you accept. Soon after, they send you a message with something like, “How are you doing?” It’s the beginning of a discussion to trick and deceive you.
As the conversation continues, they want to make a “call to action” to collect money. That’s their goal, which is similar to the bait & switch. It’s usually something like, “Have you heard the good news?” If you receive something like that, run! But if you say you haven’t heard the good news, they will provide you a link to some bogus website that promises to send you money.
For example, they may tell you about a new Government program offering a stimulus package, but you have to go to a website to fill out your information.
Once you click on the link, a few things could happen. If you provide personal information, the scammers now have enough data to steal your identity, and soon you’ll see problems with your credit report.
Another option they pull is pretending to be the person you know and hoping you can send them money. For example, they may tell you a story that their purse or wallet got stolen, and they have no way of getting home and need a few dollars for a plane ticket, promising to pay you back. They may ask you to wire the money or, in this modern age, request you to buy cards such as Google Play at a store. All you have to do is give them the number on the card after you load it up with some cash.
Sometimes they might wait several weeks before contacting you so that their new friend list builds up with all the people you know. Once they clone a friend’s Facebook account, they begin to send friend requests to everyone on the list, hoping to scam them too.
The more mutual friends you have, the more the clone account appears legitimate, hoping to strengthen further trust and credibility under a fake account. I mean, who doesn’t want to help a friend, right?
You might be reading all this wondering how people can get tricked, but it does happen all the time. Yes, even here in Sebastian, Florida.
Some scammers may tell you fantastic news about Bitcoin, telling you they have invested and earning incredible sums of money. And since they are your friend, they want to let you in on the secret by sending you to a bogus website to signup for Bitcoin and collecting your personal information simultaneously.
Many people on Facebook have friends they hardly know, so if it’s from one of those friends, don’t even think about talking with them about money. But if it is from a close friend, call them on the phone.
How can scammers hack your Facebook account?
Okay, so we already told you how scammers clone other accounts from your friend list in hopes you believe who they are and send money. But can scammers hack into your Facebook account? Of course, they can, and I’ll tell you one of the ways they do it.
Remember those bogus website links I told you about earlier asking for personal information? Sometimes, they might look like Facebook prompting you to enter your username and password to proceed. It’s their website appearing like Facebook.
That’s why you need to look at the actual URL in the browser and make sure it says “facebook.com” and not something like “facebook.somewebsite.com” to try and trick you. Sometimes they use the term “facebook” in a subdomain when it’s not the “facebook.com” domain.
Also, on Facebook, you might want to “hide” your friend list from people who are not your friends. Some people hide their list from everyone. It won’t fix the problem, but it can help. Just go into your Facebook settings to see the options on who can see your friend list.
If a scammer does hack into a friend’s Facebook account and begins to send you to enter information on other websites or ask you for money, it’s better to call them on the phone than proceed. Chances are, they might not know their Facebook account got hacked.