FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.
Operation Commander/Public Information Officer
SHERIFF'S OFFICE WARNS OF FACEBOOK MESSENGER SCAMS: Jefferson County, Arkansas - August 12, 2017- During the past several months, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous complaints concerning Facebook and Facebook Messenger scams.
The complaints involved Facebook and Facebook Messenger users being contacted by individuals who they recognize or who are thought to be pillars in the community; some prominent civic leaders and/or old friends, simply trying to catch up of old times. However, victims and would-be victims soon realized that it was nothing more than a scammer posing as a pillar in the community, prominent civic leader, or old friend by creating a dummy or duplicate page in someone's likeness for the sole purpose of scamming him or her out of thousands of dollars.
The scam is taking place on Facebook Messenger and appears to target local public figures. As a potential victim, one might be at work or at home and receive a message from an old friend advising of an investor or person who is associated with a sweepstakes drawing or grant(s) administrator, seeking qualified grantees to apply for what is said to be free money. A message is then communicated to the would-be victim that all he or she has to do is pay for the administrative application or processing fee(s). He or she is then likely to be instructed to visit an authorized Western Union or MoneyGram location to transfer funds to them. However, what would-be victims don’t realize is that once the money is transferred, it is difficult to track by law enforcement on the receiving end because in most cases, the scammer provides a false identity but are still able to receive the transferred funds on the receiving end.
In similar instances, scammers have also instructed would-be victims to travel to a neighborhood store such as Walmart, Dollar General Store, or Walgreens in order to purchase a green dot or similar prepaid credit card with the Visa, MasterCard, or American Express affiliation. The would-be victim is then instructed to pay for the prepaid card to be loaded with a specific amount of funds to satisfy the administrative or application processing fee(s). Once the purchase has been completed, the messenger will generally then instruct the would-be victim to provide him or her with the credit card number on the front of the card as well as the 3-digit card verification value (CVV) number on the rear of the card.
However, once an individual provides this information, the messenger then has complete access to the funds that have been loaded on the prepaid credit card and made available immediately thereafter. In a matter of seconds or minutes, the card can be depleted of its monetary value and worthless.
“We strongly advise anyone who is contacted via Facebook or Facebook Messenger for the offering of such a “sweet deal” not to fall victim to the scam. If someone knows you that well then this type of offer, if legitimate is worth a simple phone call to you. If someone is offering free money at such a seemingly minimum fee then the age old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”, certainly should be applied here, said Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Operations Commander and Spokesman, Major Lafayette Woods, Jr.”