It is not surprising that Facebook has been a favorite platform for scammers. Its very popularity and the fact that on Facebook you are communicating with your friends is reason enough for scammers to use Facebook as a place for scams because you are more likely to trust communications that appear to come from your friends. Recently a woman in Montana lost $1,700 to a Facebook related scam that started with a private message that appeared to come from one of her friends telling her that the friend had won a large amount of money through a Facebook lottery and that the Montana woman could receive a huge lottery prize as well merely by wiring $1,700 in administrative fees. Unfortunately, as I am sure you guessed, the lottery was a scam and the private message, which appeared to come from a friend actually came from the Facebook account of a friend whose Facebook account was hacked by a scammer who was able to prey upon the scam victim’s trust of a message that appeared to come from her friend.
It is hard to win any lottery or contest. It is impossible to win one that you have never entered. Facebook accounts and email accounts are relatively easy for a skilled cybercriminal to hack so whenever you receive an email or message urging you to click on a link, provide personal information or, as in this scam, send money, you should always be skeptical and confirm that the communication is legitimate before responding. You should be particularly skeptical of any request to wire money or provide a cash card number because once funds have been transferred in this fashion, they are impossible to retrieve.
It also is important to remember that no legitimate lottery requires that you pay them fees to claim your prize or pay them the taxes due on the winnings. Legitimate lotteries either deduct the income taxes from your prize or they pay you the entire amount of the prize and you are responsible for paying the taxes on your own to the IRS. In addition, Facebook does not sponsor lotteries of any kind.
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