Con artists use Facebook Messenger to contact victims

Con artists use Facebook Messenger to contact victims

If you are on Facebook, watch out for scams using Messenger. In the past month, BBB Scam Tracker has received dozens of reports about con artists using Facebook Messenger to promote phony grants.

You get a Facebook Messenger chat that looks like it comes from a friend or relative. Scammers will either hack an account or create a separate lookalike profile by stealing photos and personal information. Either way scammers are banking that you will trust a message that appears to come from someone you know. 

The scammer, posing as a friend or family member, will send you a message claiming you qualify for “free money” from the government or other organization. The catch is that you need to pay upfront first. The con artist will claim the money pays for “delivery” or “processing.”

Other versions of this scam trick you into parting with personal information instead of money. These cons ask you to complete an application form that requires personal information such as your address and Social Security number.

Always remember the saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” Just this week I received a call from a local couple that had been targeted through Messenger from “an acquaintance.” The husband believed it to be his old friend and was going to do what he was asked. He thought it seemed odd but didn’t think his friend would steer him wrong.

Be wary of your friends’ tastes online. If your friend or family member has impeccable judgment in real life, their posts and messages should mimic this. Anytime you feel something is off, call your friend and ask prior to committing to anything.

Report scam accounts and messages to Facebook. Alert Facebook to fake profiles, compromised accounts and spam messages by reporting them.

Learn more about government scams at

Get advice on keeping your Facebook account secure from your Facebook page. Click on Quick Help or the (?) and choose Help Center. Under Privacy and Safety, choose Keeping Your Account Secure.

If you’ve fallen victim to this kind of scam, help others avoid the same pitfall by filing a scam report at

Visit or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam with Scam Tracker, read tips, follow us on social media and more.

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