Area Residents Should Beware of Facebook Scams

North Iowans are being warned about a couple of new scams that target Facebook users. Jim Hegarty, with the Better Business Bureau in Omaha/Council Bluffs, says to be very wary if you get a message that appears to be from the founder of the social media giant.

There is no Facebook lottery. While getting a message from Zuckerburg should send up a red flag for most of us, we would tend to be much more trusting if the message is from someone we know. That’s the hinge of the other new scam.

That “friend” tells the victim to contact a third party to get their winnings, and again, there’s a fee for getting the cash prize but it never arrives. An elderly couple from Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, was drawn into a lottery scheme and recently came forward. Both were in their 80s and were showing signs of early dementia. Several con artists piled onto the couple over two years.

Nationwide last year, the BBB took 150-thousand complaints from consumers reporting scams. The estimated loss to victims is 117-million dollars, but Hegarty says that amount could be ten times higher as many people don’t report being ripped off.