Mobile police warn of Facebook Messenger scam

Mobile County

FILE- In this March 13, 2019, file photo, Instagram, Messenger and Facebook apps are are displayed on an iPhone in New York. Federal regulators asked Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, for Facebook to be ordered to divest its Instagram and WhatsApp messaging services as the U.S. government and 48 states and districts accused the company of abusing its market power in social networking to crush smaller competitors. The antitrust lawsuits were announced by the Federal Trade Commission and New York Attorney General Letitia James. (AP Photo/Jenny Kane, File)

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile Police Department (MPD) has been alerted of a scam happening on Facebook Messenger and needs the public to beware.

The most recent victim to report the scam was an elderly woman. She told police her Facebook friend’s account was hacked, and the scammer posed as one of her family members. The elderly woman lost $500 and gave them a copy of her driver’s license.

Police say the way scammers work is that they pose as your family member or friend via Facebook Messenger saying that there is funding available, and they know an attorney that knows how to research it to get you money. They tell you that they received $3,000 and all they had to do was pay the attorney $500 in gift cards. In order for you to receive the $3,000, they give you a phone number to text message them your information.  You go purchase $500 in gift cards and text message them a picture of the numbers on the gift cards and a picture of your driver’s license. From there, the scammer sends you a picture of a FedEx package that appears to have money inside of a 5X7 envelope.  

At that point, scammers now have access to the money on the gift cards as well as your driver’s license information. Police say they will never mail you the money. 

Advice from MPD:

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is a scam. The government will never ask you to send them gift cards. Always call your Facebook friends or family members directly to verify if what was sent was really from them. In addition, never send anyone your personal information, social security number or banking information.

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