You might have received a Facebook message claiming that you won the Facebook lottery.
But is there any such thing as a Facebook lottery? There’s none, so you’re most likely dealing with a scam.
We've looked into official Facebook sources and studied how it deals with scam reports and what measures it has to prevent such activities on its platform. We also read stories from actual people who experienced the FB lottery and how they dealt with and recovered from it.
Moreover, we sought tips from reputable online safety publications so we can share the most critical step to do when you encounter a Facebook scam. Don’t miss out on valuable suggestions that can help prevent or stop social media scams.
One loophole can make you become a victim of identity theft.
How to spot (and avoid) Facebook lottery scams?
More than 95,000 people lost almost $770 million due to social media scams, and Facebook is one of the platforms where users are being scammed.
An example of a scammer’s tactic involves Facebook lottery scams. You’ll receive a message saying you won thousands of dollars. Before you can claim the prize, though, you need to click a link and transfer a certain amount of money.
Don’t fall for it.
But how can you avoid the Facebook Messenger lottery fraud?
1. Watch out for people posing as Facebook representatives
The New York Times reported that scammers even use the identity of Mark Zuckerberg and other high-ranking officers to deceive Facebook users.
So when you receive a message from someone claiming to be the founder of Facebook, don’t entertain the stranger anymore. It’s unlikely for Facebook officials and employees to message you randomly and say that you won thousands of dollars.
2. Check for grammar, spelling, and formatting errors
Most messages from scammers have poor grammar, format, and spelling, that’s unusual for employees of a multinational company. For example, the scammer reported by the New York Times sent this message: “I want you to know that this Promo is 100% Real and Legitimate and the Government are aware of this Promo…”
As you might notice, the terms promo, real, and legitimate are capitalized even though they’re not proper nouns. The scammer also used the wrong verb “are” after the word government.
It might seem technical, but legitimate companies proofread their messages before sending them to customers.
3. Be wary of urgent requests
Scammers also want to get money fast, so they’d like you to decide without thinking. Here’s the continuation of the message reported by The New York Times: “…you don’t have to be skeptical all you just have to do is to follow all instruction giving to you okay.”
Often, scammers will even say that there’s a deadline to click a link or send money. Don’t believe them and search the lottery name on Google to know if it’s legitimate or a scam.
4. Report suspicious emails and messages
It’s also recommended to report malicious messages, so you can help Facebook stop the scammers. You’ll also be a difficult target when you report them.
You can report the message to [email protected] or look for the report links on Facebook.
So when you encounter a Facebook scam, remember not to open attachments or click links from strangers, especially if they offer a large amount of money. It’s one of their techniques to collect and use your information to commit identity theft.
5. Never send money to Facebook representatives
Facebook employees will never ask for money in exchange for prizes, donations, or gifts. It’s a scam when someone claims to be a Facebook employee and requests fund transfers because you allegedly won the lottery.
Refunding the money you transferred will be difficult, so be careful when sending gift cards or cash.
6. Report and block the sender telling you about the Facebook lottery
Facebook lottery winner email is part of a large-scale modus operandi that tempts people to send money in the hope of receiving thousands of cash. Aside from sending emails, scammers may also contact you directly on Facebook.
The tech company clarifies that these scams violated their policies and emphasizes that they have a dedicated team to block these kinds of scams.
Since the statement already came from Pete Voss, the company’s spokesperson, we recommend reporting such messages immediately.
How does the “Facebook Lottery” scam work?
The New York Times talked to several victims of this scam to discover how it works. According to Gary Bernhardt, he received a message from Zuckerberg himself, saying that he was the lucky winner of $750,000.
The scammers’ first demand was $200 in iTunes gift cards. However, after Mr. Bernhardt sent the redemption code, the fraudsters asked for more money, which amounted to $1,310. He eventually realized he had been a victim of the Facebook lottery scam.
We also found out that people are asking about the Facebook Powerball lottery. According to Powerball’s official website, they don’t contact winners through social media platforms unless you entered a legitimate lottery promotion.
Here’s how the Facebook Powerball scam works:
- Someone will message you, stating that they won the Facebook Powerball lottery and encouraging you to check if you also won. The person might ask you to click a link that contains malware that can collect your data.
- The scammer will also tell you to collect your winnings through another person, and you need to pay a certain amount to cover the taxes.
- However, you’ll never receive the money because, in reality, Powerball isn’t affiliated with Facebook.
So how do you know if you really won the sweepstakes?
Most companies send the winning notification via physical mail or emails, but make sure to verify if the sender is a legitimate institution.
You can also check it through their website because they usually post the winning combinations. One thing’s for sure; they won’t ask for processing fees to release your prize.
Bonus tips to keep your Facebook account secure
Since scammers always wait for their next victims on social media, it’s crucial to protect your Facebook account and online identity. Here are some tips:
- Create a strong password with no less than 13 characters and set up two-factor authentication.
- Never share login credentials and double-check a website’s URL before providing your username and password.
- Accept friend requests only from your acquaintances or people you know to prevent scammers from messaging you.
Your top defense against scams is yourself, so stay alert and vigilant and strengthen your security practices.
Use Facebook without the threat of lottery scams
Scammers will always think of ways to deceive other people, but what’s important is that you can protect yourself.
As long as you know how to recognize them and set up security measures for your Facebook account, you can use Facebook peacefully without the fear of becoming a victim of scammers.