Hi all,

I’ve been working with a customer today (03/09/2020) to resolve the issues that have been caused by falling victim to a scam on Facebook. I just wanted to drop everyone a description of what happened as a warning to be vigilant.

I’ve changed the names of the victims of the scam to Alice, Bob, and Charles

A fraudster looked on Facebook and saw Alice’s account, Alice had her account settings so all of her list of Friends could be seen by anyone. The fraudster noted down Alice’s full name and saved her profile picture. The fraudster then set-up a new account using the same name and profile picture. To anyone, the new, fake account, was for all intent and purpose the same account.

The fraudster then went through Alice’s list of friends and sent them all messages to say that Charles (whom she didn’t know to be the fraudster) had contacted her and she had won a house. Charles, still pretending to be Alice then said that the her friends names were also on the winners list and they had also won something.

Charles then messaged the friends with the same story, they had won something…. But first they needed to provide identification and pay a processing fee. My client was then persuaded to send a picture of their driving licence and passport. The fraudster also attempted to get them to pay the processing fee with an Amazon gift card or iTunes voucher for £500. When my client said they could not afford £500, the price dropped to £200 then to £50.

The fraudster attempted to give the story some credibility by sending some pictures of some nice Guernsey houses that had been found on google.

It might be like a story, but this is genuine. I’m now resetting all of the clients passwords for their online identities. Banks will be contacted to make them aware, driving licence will need to be issued and various fraud forms to the passport office.  Also a visit to make a report to the Police fraud department.

Fraudsters love getting hold of passports and driving licences because they give them the ability to create new, genuine looking documents with new photo’s. These are then sold to criminals to use to get people through boarders, drug couriers, people smugglers and refugees.  Passports and Driving licences are often the only documentation needed to withdraw money from bank accounts and obtain birth certificates. These documents can also be used to take out loans in the victims name and thus causing a great deal of problems when the fraudster runs off with the money and leaves the visctim dealing with proving the debt is not theirs.

Please remember:

  • If someone messages you about winning something on Facebook it will be a scam.
  • The chances of genuinely winning something out of the blue like this is precisely zero.
  • Do not under any circumstances send copies of driving licences and passports to anyone unless you are certain who they are and that it is for a legitimate reason. i.e. you are taking it in to the local branch of your bank.
  • If you’re suspicious then don’t reply. Scammers have a low tolerance for delays, more than a few minutes and they pester rather unprofessionally.
  • Feel free to drop me a line and ask.

You can also help to stop scammers using your Facebook and social media accounts for frauds such as this by hiding your friends lists such that only people you are acquainted with are allowed to see it. This helps to protect you  and your friends and Family.

To check you Facebook settings log on to a computer Web Browser like Chrome or Edge, go to your Facebook account and look under “Settings & Privacy”, “Settings” then “Privacy”.

Now look for the setting “Who can see your friends list” and change it from “Public” to either “Only Me” or “Friends”.

If you have any questions please feel free to drop me a line.