Norfolk County resident loses $100,000 to Facebook prize scam

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(NORFOLK COUNTY, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Norfolk County Detachment is urging all residents to familiarise themselves with the Facebook prize scam after a concerned resident contacted police.

On Monday, June 5, 2017, at approximately 4:35 p.m., police were contacted by a Norfolk County, Ontario resident reporting a fraud.

Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that between Monday, April 3, 2017, and Monday, June 5, 2017, a resident received a notification indicating that they had won a large lottery.

The victim was then requested to send funds in order to release the winnings however no prize ever arrived. The total amount of funds forwarded was approximately $100,000 dollars.

Scammers are increasingly using Facebook as a means of communication to target potential victims. The OPP are warning all residents to be on the lookout for unsolicited Facebook messages claiming you’ve won a prize.

Any solicitation advising consumers that they have won or had a chance to win something but are required to purchase something first or pay an advance fee, such as taxes or delivery charges to receive the prize is a SCAM.

How the scam works

Consumers receive a message on Facebook that may or may not appear to be a distant relative or family friend. The scammer sends out mass email messages claiming they saw the consumer’s name on a list as a prize winner in a lottery or sweepstakes. A fee is requested up front but no winnings are ever received.

How to protect yourself

Never send money up front on the promise of a prize, lottery or sweepstake.
Scammers are notorious for requesting money to be sent by a money service provider.

Never accept a friend request, engage in a chat or respond to a message from an unknown person.

Protect your profile. Change all privacy setting to “Friends”. This will allow only people you know and trust to search and access your profile page.

Should you receive a suspicious message from a family member or friend, confirm the message through an outside source not associated to Facebook, by a telephone call, text message or email.

Report any suspicious messages to Facebook Security at www.facebook.com/report.

Don’t become a statistic. Fraud is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that will only stop when the scammers stop getting money, banking information or personal information. The best thing to do is to simply not respond.

If any groups or businesses in Norfolk County would like to have a presentation completed regarding Scams and Frauds / Identity Theft Prevention, please contact Provincial Constable Ed Sanchuk at the Norfolk County Detachment at 519-426-3434.

For more information on fraud, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre.ca.

FRAUD – RECOGNIZE IT….REPORT IT….STOP IT….