A North Carolina woman is trying to warn others about a Facebook scam that she nearly fell victim to. It came from a friend, and it could have cost her thousands of dollars.
Cheryl Albrecht is a nutrition director at Randolph County Senior Adults Association. She recently told WGHP News about the scam that started when she received a friend request on Facebook from an elderly woman she knows.
The woman claimed to have been awarded money by the federal government.
“She had seen my name on the winners list as well and wanted to know if I’d gotten my money,” Albrecht said.
The friend told Albrecht that all she needed to do was send a friend request to a man she didn’t know and follow his instructions to collect the money. When she did, Albrecht quickly realized it was a scam.
The man first asked for additional personal information, including her home address and marital status. Then he asked her to send him $2,000 in order to collect the money.
It’s an old trick, but people still fall for it. The FBI refers to such scams as “advance fee schemes,” according to an ABC News story from earlier this year about a Texas woman who fell victim to one. The schemes involve the victim paying out money in order to collect a larger prize that doesn’t exist.
They are easy to spot, but for Albrecht, her trouble didn’t stop when she refused to pay.
“He still hounded me,” she said. “Literally, ‘do you want your money? Do you want your money?’”
As the harassment continued, Albrecht learned that the original friend request came from an account created by a person posing as the woman she knows.
The contact with the scammer stopped for a few weeks, then started again. This time it was an older scam. Albrecht was told she had won a Facebook lottery.
That scam has been around for years. It occasionally takes the form of an advance fee scheme, but the Better Business Bureau believes the scam is more about installing malware on victims’ computers through bad links included in the emails.
Luckily for Albrecht she didn’t fall for that scam either. But she wants others, particularly the seniors she works with on a daily basis, to be aware.
“That’s my concern; I didn’t want any more of my former seniors or my current seniors to be finagled out of their hard-earned money,” she said.