A Classic Scam — Now on Facebook!
You wouldn’t send $2,000 to an unknown address based on the suggestion of a stranger. At least, hopefully you wouldn’t. But what if your own sister told you that you couldn’t pass up this deal. That she had paid a $2,000 fee to apply for a federal grant that could net her as much as $500,000. That’s a big pay off, especially when the advice comes from a trusted source.
Perhaps you wonder why the government would want you to pay a $2,000 fee to apply for a grant. But, hey, the government does crazy stuff sometimes, and, besides, we all know how badly it needs money right now. So you find a way to convince yourself that this all makes sense, and you wire the money to an account.
Well, guess what? You’ve just been scammed.
Posing as someone to gain the trust of another is a classic scam. “I’m your long-lost nephew!” Now it has come to Facebook, and it’s pretty convincing.
Here’s how it works: a scam artist finds a way to steal your sister’s Facebook password. He then logs in under her name and communicates with you. After a couple weeks, he uses the information that he’s slowly gotten to concoct a story. In this case, send $2,000 to get a grant. The story could also be “I’m in trouble and need $500 immediately!” Regardless, it always involves sending money without verbal confirmation.
How can you protect yourself from this hoax? For one thing, always talk to your friends and relatives before sending them any money. If the scammer can impersonate your sister’s voice, then maybe he deserves some cash.