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.