‘Facebook Award 2016’ Advance Fee Scam

Email purporting to be from Facebook claims that you have won $900,000 in the ‘Facebook Award Pragram’ for 2016.

Brief Analysis:
The email is not from Facebook and you have not won $900,000. There is no such thing as the ‘Facebook Award Pragram’  (or even ‘Program’).  The email is a typical advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to criminals.

Subject: Congratulations–You have been awarded $900,000 by FacebookFacebook Awards 2016 Advance Fee Scam

Detailed Analysis:
According to this email, which purports to be from Facebook, you are the lucky winner of $900,000 USD via the 2016 ‘Facebook Award Pragram’. Supposedly, the award is designed to encourage the usage of Facebook all over the world. It comes complete with a Facebook logo, bar code, and an apparent stamp and signature of the ‘Facebook Financial Director’ Mark Scott.

The email, which includes ‘claim details’ such as a batch number and reference number, instructs you to contact Facebook’s ‘accredited attorney’ Lucas Swat with your details ‘for immediate claim procedure and payment code’.

However, the email is certainly not from Facebook and you have not won $900,000 as claimed. There is no Facebook Award for 2016 or any other year. In fact, the email is a typical advance fee scam designed to steal your money and personal information.

If you fall for the ruse and contact the ‘accredited attorney’ as instructed, you will soon receive a reply claiming that, before your prize can be processed, you must send money to cover obligatory fees such as banking and legal costs, tax, or insurance.  The scammer will claim that you must pay these fees in advance or your prize will not be processed. He will explain that, for legal reasons, the fees cannot be paid out of the prize money itself. And, he will warn that, if you do not pay all of the requested fees by a specified date, you will forfeit your prize and it will be given to somebody else.

The scammer will likely continue asking for more and more money to cover more and more – totally imaginary – fees until you run out of funds or finally realise that you are being scammed.

And, by this time, the scammer may have gathered a large amount of your personal and financial information. He may have asked you to supply this information in order to prove your identity and allow the processing of your ‘prize claim’. The scammer may later use this information to steal your identity.

As such scams go, this one is fairly sophisticated. Some recipients may be taken in by the seemingly official presentation of the scam message. But having gone to the trouble of tricking up their scam email with logos, signatures, bar codes, and the like, the scammers shoot themselves in the foot via the glaring spelling error in the name of the supposed award (‘Pragram’ rather than ‘Program’). Nevertheless, at least a few recipients may miss the spelling error or, despite the error, still belive that the email really is from Facebook.

Advance fee lottery scams like this one are very common and people all around the world still fall victim to them. There have been many variations of the Facebook award or lottery scam. Remember, there IS no Facebook lottery or award program and any message that claims that you have won such a lottery or award is sure to be an advance fee scam like the one I describe here.

Last updated: March 30, 2016
First published: March 30, 2016
By Brett M. Christensen
About Hoax-Slayer

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