Senior Citizen's Guide to Cleveland

28 www. BoomersResourceGuide .com Consumer s rece ive many warnings to watch for scams in their email inbox, on the phone or by text message. However, the Better Business Bureau is starting to now see an increase in reports of scammers reaching victims through Facebook Messenger. A Central Ohio senior citizen reported to BBB that she lost $6,000 after receiving a Facebook message from a scammer who had hacked her neighbor’s account. The message said she had won a sweepstakes prize, but had to wire $1,000 in fees six different times to receive it. After wiring money from Walmar t on six different days, she was then told that the FedEx truck with her winnings got into a wreck, and they would not be able to get into the box with her winnings unless she paid more money for a key. S h e b e c ame s u s p i c i o u s that she was being scammed, but then received a text from someone named Nakia Jannette Sicard who claimed to be a grant writer for Facebook. Sicard said the consumer would get the prize money, 100% guaranteed, but later asked for $500. The consumer did not send any more money, and also never received the prize money. How the Scam Works: You get a Facebook Messenger chat that looks like it comes from a friend or relative. In some cases, scammers have hacked into your friend’s Facebook account. In other versions, the scammer creates a separate look-alike account by stealing your friend’s photos. Either way, scammers are banking that you will trust a message that appears to come from someone you know. Currently, the most commonly reported Facebook Messenger con in BBB Scam Tracker is the government grant scam. In this con, the scammer – posing as a friend or family member – will send you a message claiming you qualify for money from the government. To receive the grant, the scammer requires you to pay a “processing fee” or an “application fee” first. The scammer keeps this money and disappears. But just because government grant scams are currently the top cons on Facebook Messenger, doesn’t mean they are the only ones. Be on the lookout for sales scams, sweepstakes scams, investment scams and romance scams. How to spot this scam: • Be wary of your friends’ tastes online: Your friend or Warning: Scammers Have Moved to Facebook Messenger