UPPER CUMBERLAND – If you are on Facebook, watch out for scams using Messenger. In the past month, BBB Scam Tracker has received dozens of reports about con artists using Facebook Messenger to promote phony grants.

How the Scam Works:
You get a Facebook Messenger chat that look like it comes from a friend or relative. Scammers will either hack an account or create a separate lookalike profile by stealing photos and personal information. Either way, scammers are banking that you will trust a message that appears to come from someone you know.

The scammer, posing as a friend or family member, will send you a message claiming you qualify for “free money” from the government or other organization. The catch is that you need to pay upfront first. The con artist will claim the money pays for “delivery” or “processing.”

Other versions of this scam trick you into parting with personal information instead of money. These cons ask you to complete an application form that requires personal information, such as your address and Social Security number.

How to spot this scam:
Be wary of your friends’ tastes online: Your friend or family member may have impeccable judgment in real-life. But email messages, social posts, and Facebook Messenger chats could be from a hacked or impersonated account.

Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook: Alert Facebook to fake profiles, compromised accounts, and spam messages by reporting them.

For more information and to learn more about government scams (bbb.org/grantscam). For advice on keeping your Facebook account secure, check out this article in Facebook’s help Center.

If you’ve fallen victim to this kind of scam, help others avoid the same pitfall by filing a scam report at BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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