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How to spot and avoid Facebook scams

Published: Monday, November 12, 2018 @ 5:21 PM

A Dayton man fell victim to a recent Facebook scam when someone reached out to him on Facebook Messenger and said he had won the lottery. STAFF PHOTO / RACHEL MURRAY
A Dayton man fell victim to a recent Facebook scam when someone reached out to him on Facebook Messenger and said he had won the lottery. STAFF PHOTO / RACHEL MURRAY

A Dayton man has been the target of a lottery scam on Facebook.

It’s one that local tech experts said they see frequently.

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The scammers target you on Facebook Messenger and tell you that you’ve won money, but their goal is to drain your wallet.

Rocky Clay said that someone claiming to be a “Facebook agent” used Messenger to tell him he was a lottery winner to the tune of $550,000.

The catch? He had to send money to get his winnings.

“I’m out about a hundred bucks, but I wanted to see what was going on.”

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The scammers claimed his winnings had been confiscated, and then the delivery vehicle was involved in a supposed traffic accident requiring him to send money to ensure his check would arrive.

He didn’t get any winnings, but what really tipped him off that this was a scam?

“When Mark Zuckerberg texted me on my phone,” Clay said.

He knew it wasn’t really the Facebook found. At the time, Zuckerberg was on TV testifying before Congress.

It’s a common scam, according to Zack Davidson with Next X Computers in Centerville.

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“We are very familiar with the Facebook scams that are going around,” he said. “We see one or two of them every week.”

Davidson said one easy way to spot a scammer or fake profile is to do an Google image search.

Download the person’s profile picture to your desktop and then upload it here: 

https://images.google.com/.

“Nine times out of 10 it is going to tell you that person is fake,” he said.

Facebook said that they have a team of people who work to stop scams like this one. The social media site also has plenty of information about scams in the Facebook Help Center.

You can also report fake accounts by clicking on the “...” next to “message”.

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“Shame on you,” Clay said of the scammers. “I mean, get a job. You know it’s terrible.”

To avoid Facebook scams and phony profiles, here are more red flags:
  • The profile was recently created
  • There are very few posts
  • You don’t have any mutual friends