Alert: Facebook Award 2016’ Advance Fee Scam

Email purporting toHoax Slayer be from Facebook claims that you have won $900,000 in the ‘Facebook Award Pragram’ for 2016. The email is not from Facebook and you have not won $900,000. There is no such thing as the ‘Facebook Award Pragram’ (or even ‘Program’). The email is a typical advance fee scam designed to trick you into sending your money and personal information to criminals.

According to this email, which purports to be from Facebook, you are the lucky winner of $900,000 USD via the 2016 ‘Facebook Award Pragram’. Supposedly, the award is designed to encourage the usage of Facebook all over the world. It comes complete with a Facebook logo, bar code, and an apparent stamp and signature of the ‘Facebook Financial Director’ Mark Scott. The email, which includes ‘claim details’ such as a batch number and reference number, instructs you to contact Facebook’s ‘accredited attorney’ Lucas Swat with your details ‘for immediate claim procedure and payment code’. However, the email is certainly not from Facebook and you have not won $900,000 as claimed. There is no Facebook Award for 2016 or any other year. In fact, the email is a typical advance fee scam designed to steal your money and personal information.

If you fall for the ruse and contact the ‘accredited attorney’ as instructed, you will soon receive a reply claiming that, before your prize can be processed, you must send money to cover obligatory fees such as banking and legal costs, tax, or insurance.  The scammer will claim that you must pay these fees in advance or your prize will not be processed. He will explain that, for legal reasons, the fees cannot be paid out of the prize money itself. And, he will warn that, if you do not pay all of the requested fees by a specified date, you will forfeit your prize and it will be given to somebody else. The scammer will likely continue asking for more and more money to cover more and more – totally imaginary – fees until you run out of funds or finally realise that you are being scammed. And, by this time, the scammer may have gathered a large amount of your personal and financial information. He may have asked you to supply this information in order to prove your identity and allow the processing of your ‘prize claim’. The scammer may later use this information to steal your identity.

As such scams go, this one is fairly sophisticated. Some recipients may be taken in by the seemingly official presentation of the scam message. But having gone to the trouble of tricking up their scam email with logos, signatures, bar codes, and the like, the scammers shoot themselves in the foot via the glaring spelling error in the name of the supposed award (‘Pragram’ rather than ‘Program’). Nevertheless, at least a few recipients may miss the spelling error or, despite the error, still believe that the email really is from Facebook.

Advance fee lottery scams like this one are very common and people all around the world still fall victim to them. There have been many variations of the Facebook award or lottery scam. Remember, there IS no Facebook lottery or award program and any message that claims that you have won such a lottery or award is sure to be an advance fee scam like the one described here.

Distraction Burglary

 

Distraction Burglary is a crime that effects people of all ages, but in particular the elderly and vulnerable members of our communities. It involves criminals knocking at your door as Bogus Callers. This can range from them imitating workmen and engineers, to police officers or even vulnerable people seeking sympathy. The aim is to either con their way inside your home to commit a burglary, or keep you distracted long enough to allow an accomplice to slip in through a back door or window.

To help you avoid falling victim to Distraction Burglary, we have provided this helpful checklist based on the Lock, Stop, Chain, Check process for what you should do when there’s a knock at the door:

Are you expecting anyone? – If not, consider whether you should answer at all, particularly if it is after dark.

Can you see who is calling? – Using a peephole, electronic door viewer, intercom, or even just glancing out of a window can help you establish if the caller may be suspicious.

You’ve decided to answer. – Before you open the door, are your back doors and windows shut and locked? This will prevent sneak-in burglaries whilst you are occupied at the front door.

Have you applied your door chain? – These essential bits of kit allow the identification and verification of callers, without allowing them access. The higher quality chain the better.

You’ve partially opened the door with your door chain applied. – If the caller is a stranger then ask them who they are and what they want.

Is the caller claiming to be in trouble or that their car has broken down etc? – Do not feel obligated to invite them in or to leave your home, offer to call the police or breakdown recovery. Don’t worry about being rude, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Is the caller claiming to be from an organisation? – Ask to see some ID. Ensure you check it closely; a genuine caller won’t mind handing their credentials over.

Does their ID seem genuine? – If you’re not sure, call the organisation they claim to represent. Always try and use a number you find yourself (e.g. online) rather than the one that’s on their ID.

If you decide to call their organisation. – Shut the door again whilst doing so. A genuine caller will understand and won’t mind waiting.

Does everything check out? – You’ve now completed the Lock, Stop, Chain, Check process for identifying Bogus Callers and combatting Distraction Burglary. You can return to your visitor with confidence. However if you’re still in doubt, just keep them out!

Door Chain