The Facebook Page shown in the example below is part of a scheme designed to trick you into sending money and personal information to cybercriminals.
The purpose of the so-called ‘Facebook International Lottery Program’ Page is to make the claims made in advance fee scam messages appear more legitimate.
Users receive an initial message claiming that they have won a large sum of money in a lottery organized by Facebook. To claim the prize, they are instructed to contact a Facebook Lotteries agent for further details. In many cases, the initial scam messages may arrive via email or SMS. In other cases, they may originate from hijacked Facebook accounts and thus arrive via Facebook’s internal messaging system.
The scam messages include a link to the ‘Facebook International Lottery Program’ Facebook Page where ‘winners’ can supposedly confirm their prize and communicate with their ‘delivery agent’.
Alternatively, a person that you think is one of your Facebook friends may contact you. These messages are sent via cloned Facebook accounts from people that are simply pretending to be your Facebook friends. The ‘friend’ will claim that he or she has already won a prize and noticed that your name was on a list of other winners. The ‘friend’ will urge you to go to the bogus Facebook Lottery Page and post a message asking about your win.
To more naïve or inexperienced users, the scam Facebook Page may seem like an official Facebook entity and help to convince them that they really have won a large lottery prize. The Page allows users to post questions about their supposed win. Users who post about a winning notification they have received or have been told about are asked to send a message to the Page’s inbox.
The Page is ‘salted’ with fake comments from people who claimed that they have actually received their prize. And, any posts that point out that the Page is a scam are quickly deleted.
Of course, there is no prize and no winners. Those who fall for the scam and contact their ‘agent’ as instructed will soon be asked to send money in advance, ostensibly to cover various banking, taxation, insurance, and legal fees. The scammers will claim that the requested fees cannot be taken out of the prize itself for ‘legal reasons’. These requests will continue until victims run out of ready funds or belatedly realize that they are being scammed.
The scammers may also gather a large amount of personal and financial information from their victims during the course of the scam. This information may later be used to commit identity theft.
Do not be taken in by fake lottery notifications or the fake Facebook Pages that support them. If you receive such a message, do not reply and do not click any links or attachments that it contains.
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!