Beware of Facebook Send Money to a Friend Scam

Beware of Facebook Scam
It’s a shame that my first blog post of the year is about a scam that you need to be aware of, but I thought it was important that I share it immediately.

Last night a copywriter friend of ours was contacted on facebook chat by some Internet Marketing Friends that we share in common. The Internet Marketing Friends sounded distressed and advised that they are in London and had just been robbed at Gun Point and lost their wallets, cards, phones and everything.

They expressed their urgency in getting our copywriter friend to wire them $2,000 immediately via Western Union so that they can catch their flight home. The copywriter felt a bit suss about it and asked the Internet Marketers a security question which was the name of a friend that they had in common who was a famous book publisher. It was only after some prodding and hints that they were able to give the right reply and the copywriter wired the money.

This morning the Internet Marketers again contacted the copywriter via facebook chat and said they missed their flights and needed $3,000 to be able to get home. Luckily Western Union required the copywriter to go in in person to pay the money, so it didn’t happen immediately for the next $3k.

A phone call from the copywriter to me and my wife Jules this morning resulted in Jules advising that she had seen this ‘facebook transfer money to a friend’ scam on Oprah and that he shouldn’t do it.

From there the copywriter contacted who we now believed to be hackers posing as our Internet Marketing friends on facebook and advised that he needed to speak to them to confirm it was them before transferring the money.

The hackers gave the copywriter a phone number and he called them. The hacker masquerading as our Internet Marketing Friends had an African, possibly Nigerian style accent and it was confirmed 100% that it was a scam. Most likely the hackers have the facebook account username and password to pull this off.

So the $2,000 was lost by our copywriting friend, but we all would probably prefer that than have our Internet Marketing Friends held up at gun point.

So the real learnings from this are:

  1. Never transfer money to someone that you have only spoken to online and not over the phone
  2. Never post to your facebook account of somewhere that you are about to go. Instead notify your facebook friends when you get back.  Although this is a very hard one if you are a public figure in your niche or community.
  3. Set a very secure password for your facebook and other accounts, and if you have been hacked change all your usernames and passwords.

Its a shame that this happened, but hopefully by me writing about it it will help prevent it from happening again. Please feel free to share this with your friends.

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