At this point, we are all pretty used to the classic Nigerian Scam. Someone who is recently wealthy needs your help to gain access to the funds. They will let you keep $1 million if you will simply send them your bank account number so he can transfer $30 million to you. Its a dream come true to most!
What happens when that same scam is used on Facebook by one of your friends, by someone you trust? The results can be disastrous. One woman was scammed out of $366,000 because she felt sorry for the scammer’s sob story. The woman contacted the local authorities after realizing she had been conned by her Facebook “friend”. Police arrested six male suspects in Kepong, all allegedly connected to the Facebook scam: two Nigerians, two Bangladeshis, and two Malaysians. Investigators only managed to recover $5,000 in cash of the victim’s money, although they also seized 18 ATM cards, seven cell phones, and a laptop.
At least in this case the men were apprehended. In most scams of this nature there is no chance of finding the scammers and the money is long gone. Even when one of your Facebook friends asks you for something (money, help, information), your first reaction should be healthy skepticism. Verify that what they are saying is true (call them before sending money). Often times, a thief will take over a friend’s account or create a false account in order to gain your trust and eventually, your money.
John Sileo trains organizations on how to keep employees from falling for fraud based on data they have posted on Facebook. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer, Homeland Security, FDIC, FTC, Federal Reserve Bank, Blue Cross Blue Shield and hundreds of corporations and organizations of all sizes. Learn more about his high-content financial speeches.