Facebook users continue to fall for criminal ploys claiming that they have won a large cash prize in a supposed Facebook lottery or grant.
In fact, these messages are advance fee scams designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to criminals.
Some versions even use seemingly official “Facebook Lottery” websites to further the illusion that you have won the promised prize.
How These Scams Work
The criminals use Facebook to distribute messages claiming that your name is included on a list of winners. The criminals often use cloned or hacked Facebook accounts so that the “winning list” message may appear to come from someone you know and trust.
The messages urge you to click a link to claim your supposed cash prize.
Here’s a screenshot of one such scam message:
If you fall for the ruse and click the link, a bogus “Facebook Lottery” website will load in your browser. The site features photographs supposedly depicting past winners of the prize along with information about the lottery. It also urges you to check a “Winners List” on the page. If you received the initial winning notification message, you’ll discover that your name is included on the list.
Winners are informed that the amount of money that they will receive depends on how much they are willing to pay upfront. The bogus site includes a list of these supposed delivery and insurance fee amounts:
If you see your name on the list, you are instructed to fill in a “Status Verification” form.
After you submit the form, criminals will then ask you to pay your chosen delivery fee. If you do pay, you may then be asked to pay further fees, ostensibly to allow the processing of your “prize”. The scammers may also ask you to provide a large amount of your personal and financial information. And, they may demand that you submit your Facebook email address and password, supposedly so that they can verify your prize claim.
But, of course, there is no prize, your name is not on any legitimate lottery winners list, and you will never receive the promised cash. After the scam has run its course, the criminals will disappear with your money. They may also be able to steal your identity and hijack your Facebook profile using the information you supplied.
Facebook advance fee scams take many forms. Some versions may link to bogus Facebook Pages featuring the “winners list” rather than an external website. Others may instruct you to simply reply to the message or contact an “agent” via Facebook or email to claim your supposed prize.
No matter how the scams are implemented, they are all designed to steal your money and personal information.
There is No Facebook Lottery
Bottom line? There is no such thing as a Facebook Lottery. Nor does Facebook randomly award large cash grants to its users. Any message in any format that makes such a claim is sure to be a scam. If you receive such a message, do not reply or respond. Do not click any links that it contains.
- Facebook Promotion, Lottery and Award Scams
Importance NoticeAfter considerable thought and with an ache in my heart, I have decided that the time has come to close down the Hoax-Slayer website.
These days, the site does not generate enough revenue to cover expenses, and I do not have the financial resources to sustain it going forward.
Moreover, I now work long hours in a full-time and physically taxing job, so maintaining and managing the website and publishing new material has become difficult for me.
And finally, after 18 years of writing about scams and hoaxes, I feel that it is time for me to take my fingers off the keyboard and focus on other projects and pastimes.
When I first started Hoax-Slayer, I never dreamed that I would still be working on the project all these years later or that it would become such an important part of my life. It's been a fantastic and engaging experience and one that I will always treasure.
I hope that my work over the years has helped to make the Internet a little safer and thwarted the activities of at least a few scammers and malicious pranksters.
A Big Thank YouI would also like to thank all of those wonderful people who have supported the project by sharing information from the site, contributing examples of scams and hoaxes, offering suggestions, donating funds, or helping behind the scenes.
I would especially like to thank David White for his tireless contribution to the Hoax-Slayer Facebook Page over many years. David's support has been invaluable, and I can not thank him enough.
Closing DateHoax-Slayer will still be around for a few weeks while I wind things down. The site will go offline on May 31, 2021. While I will not be publishing any new posts, you can still access existing material on the site until the date of closure.
Thank you, one and all!