Sheriff's office warns of local Facebook scam - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Sheriff's office warns of local Facebook scam

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FAYETTE COUNTY (NEWS RELEASE) -- A scam involving Facebook and Facebook Messenger is circulating in the local area and the Sheriff's Office is warning residents to be wary of this scam. Sheriff Steve Kessler released the following information concerning these recent scams:

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office has received reports that a scam is circulating on Facebook and Facebook Messenger. According to reports received by the Sheriff's Office, individuals have reported receiving messages from their Facebook friends stating that the friend has won a large amount of money and has seen the individual's name on the winners list. The "friend" then forwards a link to the website where the individual can determine how much they have won.

When individuals click on the link they are contacted through either Facebook or Facebook Messenger and are asked to provide information to "verify" that their name appears on the winners list. They may be asked to provide their full name, address, age and telephone number but are NOT asked to provide any banking information. They are then instructed that they can "choose" the level of the prize they wish to receive, from $25,0000.00 up to $500,000.00. The amount of the prize chosen dictates the amount of the "processing fee"- which may range from $1,500.00 up to as much as $5,000.00- that individuals are asked to submit via Western Union. There is a great deal of pressure to do this "quickly" and individuals are advised "not to tell anyone" about their good fortune. The "representative will often ask individuals to forward a lesser amount- as much as they can convince an individual to access- in order to expedite the processing of the award.

Residents need to be aware that this set-up is a fraud. You will never be asked for your banking account information or asked to submit a "processing fee" for any legitimate raffle or contest. People should also be aware that the "friend" sending you the information may not be your actual friend or acquaintance- people's Facebook accounts are often the target of hackers who then use the friend list of the hacked account as a list of potential victims. If you believe that your Facebook account has been hacked, you need to deactivate your account and contact Facebook. It's also a good idea to notify all of your contacts in your address book to be aware of messages they may receive from you that may not be legitimate. If you do send money via Western Union, be aware that you will not be able to recover your money and it is highly unlikely that law enforcement will be able to trace the identity of the individual(s) involved in the scam. "Always remember, ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,'" said Sheriff Kessler. Anyone who is contacted about winning any type of prize who thinks that they might be the potential victim of a scam is urged to contact their local law enforcement agency.

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