A Facebook friend request scam that Clark has been telling you about for a few years just got more sophisticated.
According to an alert from the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office in Wyoming, intended victims first receive a friend request from someone they’re already friends with – the first red flag.
That’s the old part of the scam. Criminals have been recreating existing Facebook profiles for years.
Facebook friend scam: What you need to know
The new twist comes into play if you accept the friend request from the scammer, who then tells you that your name has appeared on a government award list.
The “friend” may say you’re entitled to stimulus, grant or award money – sometimes up to $90,000.
Next, another huge red flag. The scammer will give you a number to contact and you’ll be told there’s a “collection charge” of up to $1,000 to receive the cash.
CBS San Francisco spoke with a man who then received a phone call from a scammer.
According to the report, the caller said he could help the targeted victim avoid the fee if he gave him remote access to his computer — yet another red flag.
Luckily, the guy didn’t take the bait! No money lost.
How to protect yourself
Since these scammers frequently pose as your Facebook friends, never accept a friend request from someone who’s already a Facebook friend.
Instead, contact your real friend and let them know something may be up with their account.
Experts say you can also avoid being contacted by scammers by changing your Facebook security settings to restrict strangers from seeing your photos, profile and friends list.
Finally, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office says you should follow the MAP principle:
- M – If you are contacted and they ask for Money (M), it’s a scam.
- A – If you are contacted and they ask for Account information (A), it’s a scam.
- P – If you are contacted and they ask for Personal information (P), it’s a scam.
Team Clark is always looking out for your security! Click here for more details on Facebook scams and instructions on how to report suspicious profiles.