Warning after £44k lost to fraudsters in Facebook Messenger scam
PUBLISHED: 09:27 21 August 2020 | UPDATED: 08:39 22 August 2020
Social media users are being warned about a scam that has already cost victims tens of thousands of pounds.
Suffolk Trading Standards said there had been a surge in reports of Facebook Messenger users receiving requests from friends to use their PayPal account to obtain eBay sale funds.
In June and July, 95 reports were made to Action Fraud, mentioning a camera as the item sold. The total reported loss was £44,035.
Messages purport to be from friends, stating they sold a camera on eBay but were unable to process payment because they did not have a PayPal account or their account was not working.
The recipient is asked to receive the funds in their own account, then transfer it to their own bank account and forward it onto an account controlled by the fraudster.
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After the transfer, the initial transaction is reversed, leaving the account in negative balance.
You can report scams on 0808 223 1133.
Trading Standards told Facebook Messenger users to take the following action:
Be wary of unusual messages asking for assistance with financial transactions. Even if the message appears to be from someone you know and trust, you should check it’s really them that sent the message by calling them or speaking with them in person.
Never respond to any requests to send money, or have money transferred through your account, by someone you don’t know and trust.
You can protect your important online accounts by using a strong separate password and, where available, turn on two- factor authentication .
Inform your bank, or payment service provider, such as PayPal, as soon as possible. They can help you prevent any further losses. You should also monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity.
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