A year into the pandemic and many people connected to the internet are catching up with friends on social media or randomly surfing the web. Also surfing the web looking to take advantage of people are scammers. Katie Galan with the Better Business Bureau has ways on protecting yourself while connected.
Galan says, "There are several are getting your information involving Facebook Messenger. A phony profile that seems like they are your friend shares an amazing deal with you. To benefit you need to select the link or share the deal. If you take part, you only have to pay a small processing fee."
Another way scammers are taking advantage is, the “friend” claims to be raising money for a charity to support emergency personnel, a food bank or some other organization that has really been hit hard by the pandemic. They'll push for a donation but Galana says, if it sounds suspicious it probably is.
Another way scammers are hard at work is, the "friend" believes their account has been hacked and to friend them on a new request. Turns out, they were not hacked at all. The profile is publicly visible and copied by a cyber thief who then creates a new profile and is now sending out new friend requests to a bogus account.
The Better Business Bureau warns everyone to check the Facebook profile to make sure the image is from who it says it is. Or, go the extra step and call, text, or email the friend to see if they really did send it to you.
Galan says to be cautious, "A person may be trustworthy in real life, but online accounts can be hacked. Take a closer look before sharing, applying, or donating. Go to give.org to verify a charity."
She says, do your research, If you can’t find a website, it’s most likely a fake. If you can find a website, look for contact information. No contact info is a red flag. Ask strategic questions without giving any personal information to confirm you are actually talking to someone you know.
If you know you're being targeted report it to Facebook. Facebook can help protect your real friends and family from a scam. You can reduce the risk of having your profile impersonated by tightening up your privacy settings and hiding your Friends list.
To find out more about a business, contractor, product or scam visit bbb.org