I periodically post about scams to watch out for. Some of my previous posts have generated comments about how these posts helped people confirm what is going on and avoid being scammed, which is awesome to hear. Examples of these posts including Zella Facebook scams found HERE text based scams found HERE student loan scams found HERE and many more found by searching “scam”.
One of the two latest scams plays on people’s weakness for opportunities as well as sensitivity around the loss of a loved one. The first scam works by advertising the availability of something hard to get such as a PS5 or latest Xbox. Usually, its free or dramatically discounted. Part of the advertising is a story about how a child has died before the desired item was given hence “the opportunity” is this is available due to the loss of a loved one explaining why its free or super discounted. The loss of a loved one is interesting since many people would be reluctant to question the situation or ask for evidence of the loss. Sometimes in posting will include a funeral picture to satisfy any thoughts it wasn’t real.
The following images show examples of these posts taken from malwarebytes blog post. That blog post can be found HERE. The key things I recommend looking for as the following. Some of these overlap with other scams I’ve posted about.
- Some scams have broken language or just sound weird how they are written. This is due to the attacker using Google translate
- The seller will have key contact and other channels closed. Anything public will also be closed. The goal is to get a private conversation with you so they can trick you to pay you
- Payment will happen before something is being delivered. Payment will likely be for delivery costs meaning the scam is to get you to pay the delivery and nothing is being delivered vs getting you to pay for a product. I posted about a car version of this HERE. For this specific scam, the PS5s are free and the goal is to take your up front delivery payment.
- Know the feedback or history of the seller may be established rather than looking to see if its a new Facebook new account. The real threat actor could have compromised a established facebook account and use it to scam associated friends.
A simpler way to think about this is questioning when something is too good to be true. Anybody who purchased a PS5 knows what the cost is and can easily sell it vs giving it away. They also can return it. What is funny about this scam is many times they advertise never giving the PS5 to the son or daughter before they died yet show pictures of an opened and used system. One way to prove the image is not real is doing an image search on Google to find the image posted on other Facebook accounts. Regardless, the key point is to NOT PAY for delivery of a free item unless you can prove its real. Speaking over Facebook or even over the phone isn’t good enough. Maybe use paypal or something with protection if you need to pay for something like this so you are protected. Don’t just wire money. Its a scam.
Another scam involves social media philanthropists doing studies for cash or flat out just giving away cash. These are also scams to collect information. Malwarebits posted about a twitter one HERE. People don’t just give away money. Even facebook and other free services have some way to create profit. Typically, what is being sold is you. Be mindful of these and other scams. When in doubt, question the situation with a focus on if something is being targeted you have, and they want such as your data or money.