Lawrence Smith / Stuff
Police are investigating a number of complaints about a Facebook scam that has cost victims thousands of dollars. (File photo).
The crooks clone the Facebook profiles of family and friends of their victims in order to trick them into providing money, banking and credit card information.
Police are investigating a number of complaints about the scam, particularly in Wellington, Taranaki, Manawatū and Southland, and believe there may be more victims who have not come forward
One person, from Southland, said they lost over $ 55,000 in the scam.
In a statement, police said victims of the scam were being misled by fake Facebook accounts that appear to belong to their friends or family members.
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The accounts are clones, created by crooks using images and personal information from public Facebook profiles.
Using the accounts, the crooks then get in touch with the victims, informing them that they’ve won a prize as part of a promotion, but need to put money into an account before they can. receive their reward.
The scammer puts the victim in contact with a third party who asks for personal information, bank details and credit card.
The third party also asks the victim to pay a fee, usually around $ 2,000, with the promise of receiving the prize in cash.
The sums requested then increase, the victims being deceived into making them pay thousands of dollars.
“Scammers use many tactics to deceive their victims, ranging from masquerading as a trusted contact, to depositing money into the victim’s bank account to ‘help them’ as the scam progresses.” a police spokesperson said.
The scammer told the victim not to tell anyone about the promotion and informed them if their bank asked questions to say the money was being used to help a family member.
Police suspect that there may be more affected people who have not reported it, who may choose not to embarrassingly be deceived.
“The agents want to prevent other people from being targeted and conned by ruthless crooks.
“We are also aware that scammers can target the elderly or vulnerable, so we urge people to have conversations with older or vulnerable family members about online safety and about suspicious activity and tactics used by crooks, ”a spokesperson said.
Tips from the police to avoid getting ripped off:
- Take care of your personal data the same way you would your wallet and other assets.
- Check the profile of someone who contacts you unexpectedly, as it may be a fake.
- If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you think you have been the victim of a scam, notify your bank immediately and call the police on 105 to report it.