Have you ever received a Facebook message claiming you’ve won a lottery organized by the world’s biggest social network? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.
Over the years, multiple people have been contacted over Facebook Messenger or through other digital means in connection with the Facebook lottery.
The problem is, however, that such a lottery doesn’t exist.
The Facebook lottery is a complete scam that targets gullible individuals lured by potential big wins. Multiple people across the world reported that the scammers had targeted them, and they warn everyone else to be cautious and careful.
From Australia to the US: A Massive Facebook Lottery Scam
As of 2019, Facebook has over 2.4 billion members from all parts of the world. The number of members surpassed one billion in 2012, and Facebook has been growing ever since. This massive conglomeration of people from all walks of life provides terrific opportunities for scammers.
Messages about a Facebook lottery circulate for years. They target people from different countries, but the scenario is more or less the same each time.
In February 2018, a woman in the US (Kentucky) became yet another victim of the Facebook lottery scam. Gwen Henderson had never heard of the scam before she got contacted with the news that she’d “won.” A great grandmother and a trustful soul, Gwen didn’t think twice about it.
The scammer gave Gwen a number to text to claim the money that she’d won. She was instructed to send 350 dollars before the prize payout was processed. A woman called Linda Hall was the recipient, but once the money was received, Gwen was told that she needed to wire an additional sum of 500 dollars.
To keep the scam going, Linda (most likely not her real name) sent Gwen a certificate that supposedly proved a prize of 150,000 dollars. Gwen felt happy, and she anticipated receiving the life-changing amount very soon.
In the next step, Gwen was told that the IRS had gotten involved and an additional sum of 1,000 dollars would be needed to free up the lottery prize. Still, she didn’t feel suspicious, and she wired the money. By that time, Gwen had already lost 1,850 dollars. She never saw a payment.
In November, a similar scenario unfolded in Canada’s Toronto.
A woman in Toronto received a message that claimed she’d won the Facebook lottery. The person who sent the message claimed to be Facebook’s CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Once again, the woman sent the scammers 500 dollars to process the payment.
The Facebook Lottery Scam Continues in 2019
Several “Facebook lottery winners” received similar messages in 2019. The Facebook Lottery scam continued strong, even though numerous media reports had already been created about the fraud scheme.
In 2019, a man from Perth in Australia received a Facebook message that claimed he had won the Facebook Freedom Lottery. The prize was 150,000 dollars.
The scam, however, seems to have evolved since then.
The man got suspicious at first. This was when he received a Facebook message from a cousin that he hadn’t had contact with for several years. The cousin mentioned the Facebook Freedom Lottery, and the fact that it was a legitimate thing.
Trusting the information provided by the cousin, the man paid a fee of 250 dollars needed to… you’ve guessed it… process the prize payout. Next day, the man was contacted again and told that the money was in an American bank. A transaction fee had to be paid to get the money to Australia.
Since he believed that his cousin had also won, the man provided the second sum he was asked to wire. In the coming weeks, he was asked for five more payments that he made.
Eventually, the man’s cousin got in touch with him for real. He claimed that his account had been hacked. He wasn’t in control of the profile at the time the messages were sent.
People have also started getting emails informing them they’d won a Facebook lottery. The official-looking email speaks of a massive prize that will be paid after a so-called agent is contacted. An agent, however, doesn’t exist. It’s simply a scammer who’s looking to squeeze out several sums from the victim before the authorities get involved.
You Cannot Win Money from Facebook
Please understand the fact that social media are not lottery operators. Thus, they cannot organize games, betting opportunities, or sweepstakes to hand out prizes.
A second crucial thing to remember is that you cannot win a lottery you’ve never heard about. If you don’t buy a ticket, you will not have an opportunity to claim a prize from any legitimate game out there.
Be careful about accepting friend requests or messages from people you do not know. Even if you are not asked to make a payment, you can be scammed in other ways. Fraudsters often look for personal or financial information. Identity theft is a real thing. It can easily take place online. Especially when you willingly provide sensitive details like your full name, address, national identity card number, or bank account.
If you are contacted about a Facebook lottery, report the account to the Facebook support team. There are also national authorities in your country that handle such scams. The people who organize Facebook lottery scams are criminals, and they deserve to be punished accordingly.
There are so many legitimate lotteries you can test out and eventually win. Don’t fall for easy cash promises. These can end up costing you a lot.