Lucky me! Apparently, my email address has been randomly selected as the winner of the Facebook Global Promotion for 2017 and I’m now entitled to claim the princely sum of $800,000.
All I need to do to claim my unexpected windfall is send my personal information to my Facebook Claims Agent.
But, alas, the message is actually an advance fee scam. I have not won any money and Facebook did not send the email. There is no such thing as the “Facebook Global Promotion’.
Here is what would happen if I contacted the claims agent:
1: The scammer (posing as the agent) would reply to my message and claim that I must pay various fees in advance to allow the processing of my prize. The scammer would invent all sorts of imaginary expenses such as banking costs, taxation, insurance, and legal fees. He or she would insist that these fees must be paid before my prize money can be transferred. And, under no circumstances, the scammer will claim, can these fees be paid out of the prize money itself.
2: I will be asked to send more of my personal information, ostensibly to prove my identity and allow my prize money to be processed. This information may include my bank details, employment information, scans of my driver’s licence, passport, or other ID documents, and a lot more.
3: If I send money the first time, the scammers will ask for even more money to cover even more imaginary expenses.
4: When I finally realise that I am being scammed and stop sending money, the scammers will simply disappear and stop responding to my messages. I’ll never get my money back. Nor, of course, will I ever get the promised prize money, which never existed in the first place.
5: To make my situation even worse, the scammers may have collected enough of my personal and financial information to allow them to steal my identity.
Facebook does not operate lotteries or promotions in which users are randomly selected to receive large sums of money. In fact, any message that claims that you have won a substantial sum of money in a lottery or promotion that you have never even entered is likely to be a scam.