Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been vocal about how he’s using his billions to help others.
His well-known generosity may be why some people think a message about the "Facebook Lottery" popping up on their Facebook inbox is the answer to all their problems.
Unfortunately, there is no "Facebook Lottery."
A man named Stanley thought he had come into this windfall of cash when a person using the name Aguilar, claiming to be a Facebook manager, contacted him with a message that he had won the International Facebook Lottery for $600,000.
“He had pictures of himself and other people that he worked with,” said Stanley. “They all looked legitimate. They had suits and badges.”
Aguilar followed with a series of poorly written messages in broken English, which perhaps should have been a red flag, saying all the right things to Stanley.
“So there would be people who would show up on my door with that and then give me my check for my winnings and then take me down to the bank,” said Stanley.
All he asked in return, was that Stanley wire $600 to pay for a courier fee to have the funds sent to the U.S.
Stanley said he didn’t have that kind of cash, so Aguilar settled for $150. But the very next day, Aguilar asked Stanley to send another $800, or he would get nothing. That’s when Stanley realized he had been hustled.
Stanley’s sister Denise almost fell for the scam too. A different person name Russell had reached out to her with the same story.
“Mark was giving away millions of dollars and I just happened to be one of those people that was taken out of random computer drawing by Facebook,” said Denise.
He said all she needed to do was send $300. However, Denise said she didn't have that money. Russell offered to take just $150 in order to send her winnings.
“They even texted me in the afternoon saying where is the money,” said Denise.
She would later find out Russell’s profile was fake, and so were the pictures he sent Denise of past winners.
This scam has been on the rise since December, after Zuckerberg published a letter on the social media site announcing he and his wife will give away 99% of their Facebook shares, worth about $45 billion, through various good deeds and charities.
The letter has been shared more than 300,000 times. Therefore, word is getting around, Zuckerberg is generous with his Facebook riches. Unfortunately, that reputation gives could be giving this scam credibility.
Both Stanley and Denise hope Facebook will catch the people who built them up so high, just to leave them feeling so low.
We contacted Facebook and they confirmed both of these profiles are fake and removed them. Adding, there is no Facebook Lottery.
“It just looked real,” said Stanley.
If you have been a victim of this or any scam, please report it to the FTC or Better Business Bureau, so they can track it and get the word out.