Raipur: Today my Father received a friend request on Facebook Messenger from an old friend and he recognized him since he lost contact over the years, he acknowledges the request and accepts it. A few moments later he got the message on his Facebook Messenger exchanging pleasantries with the usual ‘Hi’ and ‘Hello’ everything is going fine then suddenly the person drops the message stating he is not well and has an emergency or urgently needs money. What would my father do? He tried to help his old friend and asked me to send some money through an online medium. But God saved us as we recognized that it was fraudsters, making duplicate accounts of Facebook acquaintance and trapping you.
If something like this has happened to you then you’re not the only one. This is a scam that has been running on Facebook for the past couple of weeks and many users have been duped into transferring money to fraudsters.
How does it start?
It all starts with a Facebook friend request. Ideally, that friend request will be from someone in your existing friend list who you haven’t spoken to or rarely interact with. The fraudsters copy the profile pictures from your friend’s or family member’s account and use the same to reach you. Since you know the person by face it doesn’t seem suspicious at first. Shortly after that, the fraudster posing as your friend messages and requesting for some money urgently, and sometimes in a good faith, you convinced and transfer the money. They will also ask for transferring it in digital wallets like Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe so that you can make the payment immediately and they have succeeded at times.
How to spot a scam?
You have to be a bit more vigilant when it comes to spotting scams like these. Check the number of Mutual friends fake accounts usually have lesser numbers. Search for the same profile name on Facebook so that you can figure out the real one. Go through the profile information of that account whether it is a duplicate or not.
Make sure you inform the person whose identity is being compromised and used for fraud. This will help the people to identify the fraud account on their friend list so that they won't entertain such requests. ‘Find Support or report profile’ option Then Make him/her unfriend.
You have the tools to protect your online identity, it’s just that you have to be more aware.