Have Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey really been giving stuff away on Facebook?
Many people think so, and some have ended up worse off because of it.
In reality, scammers are likely behind the social media posts purporting to be from celebrities with a deal "too good to be true." And according to the Better Business Bureau, the offers are often so alluring that it is hard not to bite.
In one incident, the BBB says police report that a woman lost $20,000 in this scam. The victim says someone claiming to be Tyler Perry said she had won a large sum of money, but had to pay taxes on the prize to receive it.
In another report, a person was approached through Facebook Messenger saying he had won $750,000 and a Mercedes Benz. All he had to do to claim it was to pay $1,000, either through Western Union of MoneyGram.
The BBB reminds consumers that no legitimate sweepstakes company will ever ask you to pay a fee or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning. That includes paying "taxes," "shipping and handling charges," or "processing fees" to get your prize.
Also, keep in mind that wiring money through Western Union of MoneyGram is the same as using cash. Once it’s gone, it’s gone.
If you think you really are engaged with a celebrity on social media, always look for the blue checkmark. All legitimate accounts for celebrities will have a blue checkmark next to the name to verify its authenticity.
The BBB advises using good judgment by understanding that if a post says you can win something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a post tugs at your heartstrings and is not about someone you know personally, be wary about the truthfulness of its contents.
As always, be cautious when it comes to sharing your personal information with a person or company you do not know or trust.
Remember, if you are a victim of a scam, report it to www.BBB.org/scamtracker .
Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at firstname.lastname@example.org.