Heard about the scam on WhatsApp where someone messages you posing as one of your kids, another family member or friend telling you they have a new number, then you get another message a day or two later asking for you to help them out with some money? It’s called a ‘friend-in-distress’ or ‘mum and dad’ scam.
Now, fraudsters have gone one step further. Fraudsters are taking it on to Facebook and adding video to make it more believable.
How it works
- The owner of the Facebook account is tricked into giving up the recovery code for their account. This results in the scammer taking control of it and locking them out.
- As we’ve mentioned above, part of the scam against the account holder involves recording video of them for use during the second part of the scam – the friend-in-distress part.
- With the Facebook account under their control, the scammer simply reaches out to friends of the victim asking for money. This is where the ‘new’ element of the scam comes in:
- The scammer initiates a video call with the new target and plays back the recorded video of the original victim (the Facebook account holder). This leads them to believe that the person requesting the money was their actual friend.
- The video is presented by the scammer in such a way that the target is made to believe that there has been some technical difficulty at the account owner’s end.
- Having seen the video of their friend, those who don’t verify the need/request are moved to send the money, thus falling victim to the scam.
How to avoid the scam
- Protect your login credentials at all costs.
- Don’t share any code you receive (via email, SMS, or authenticator app) with anyone.
- Be careful of the links you click on.
- Always verify requests for help or for money.
- Be careful who you accept video calls from and what you allow to be captured.
- If you decide to take a video call as proof of identity, request the caller move their camera on your instructions. This is to ensure the video is live and not pre-recorded.
- Pay attention to the nature of the request and the reasons given for it.
With grateful thanks to Jervis Dabreo, Get Safe Online Ambassador in Grenada.