Today I was approached by someone who supposedly represented Mega Millions Lottery.
They said I was selected to win $5.5 million dollars.
But that’s where this story began…
I’m a fan of the Publishers Clearing House facebook fan page. We all may have that moment and go, “sure, why not?” … right?
Well, the fan page on PCH had a status update with a picture that shared for people to leave a comment with (Y).
So, why not…. so I did.
Within minutes, a person friended me on facebook. This person went by the name Patricia Davis. I checked out their facebook profile and being that I just responded to the PCH status update, I said… “hey, why not” – so I accepted the friend request.
A few moments after that, a series of messages and exchanges happened through facebook messaging.
It started off simple enough… “hey, do you know why I connected with you?”
Then it went to “just send me your address and I’ll deliver your prize”
Red flags were going off left and right. And NO, I didn’t share my address.
What I did do was play along so I can get an idea of how this scam works so I can pass it along to others so they are aware.
So, here’s what I found out:
- First, they set up a bogus facebook profile. This one was less than a couple of weeks old, had few status updates.
- Second, they search fan pages – like Publishers clearing house’s – and wait for them to post an update where you have to respond in the comments section.
- Third, they friend as many folks as possible and await for people to accept friend requests.
- Fourth – they message the person that accepted the friend request and say that they represent Mega Millions (or some other instant winning organization) – and that all they need is an address to deliver the winnings within 3 to 5 business days.
So far, it sounds almost official. However, there are a few flags already:
1 – I’m not a fan of mega millions lottery facebook page, but I do know that particular lottery the winners are determined by a selection of numbers. Definetely NOT the way they were going about it.
2 – The persons language was semi-professional. Something just wasn’t right in the use of their use of the english language.
3 – if someone does win, each organization has a list of how they will contact people. No where does it say via facebook message as to notify a winner – especially in this instance.
But that’s not all… there’s more to this story.
As with most situations, I am very hesitant with passing out personal information. Especially Online. So, I express a bit of hesitation and ask that they respond (or have someone respond) via their official facebook fanpage. At least that would create a more open and honest dialogue.
Over the course of 15-20 minutes, this can easily be done. But it wasn’t.
So, I let the person know that I am sending a message to PCH’s fanpage to obtain verification of who this person is. Now remember, this person said they were from Mega Millions (not PCH). Another red flag at the fact they didn’t correct me.
I still play along and ask that if I do give my address, what will the next steps be?
Then, after a few more messages back a forth, the scam is revealed – here’s an excerpt:
“You will be needing a national state ID or drivers license, a green dot card and last but not least faith and confident ok
Allow me to explain why this card is need ok. This card have a 14 digit code breaker that allows us to have access to you package so the delivery team and I can come over”
For those that don’t know what a green dot card is… it’s a moneypak.
Now, Money Pak in and of itself is a a reputable business. But even they have a major warning on their main website page that says to beware of scams: https://www.moneypak.com/
I personally don’t use moneypak.com, so I can not honestly say I would fully endorse their business.
Here’s a few articles regarding scams and the use of green dot cards:
After the various exchange of messages, I sent a few messages to PCH and Mega Millions, and also contacted my local authorities.
It’s not the first time I’ve come across scammers, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The account was reported to facebook, authorities notified – and it’s just another day online.
Just be aware of this tactic, and be careful with your interactions online. Sharing this particular incident as I’m sure it could be easy for others to fall prey to this scam.
Stay safe, folks.
Until later, be blessed.