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Facebook scam promises lottery winnings
BAYOU SORREL - A woman is warning others about a Facebook scam that promises big money in exchange for a small fee.
Suzette Ganaway says a lot has happened in the last couple of days, and it all started with a Facebook message. As the next few hours unfolded, Ganaway quickly learned someone was out for her own pocketbook.
"I'm probably not the only one this is happening to," said Ganaway.
She's right. She's not the only one who's been offered large sums of money through Facebook. Thankfully, she didn't fall for the scam.
Monday, Ganaway says she opened her Facebook messenger and read a message from a woman named Linda Belven. The message said Ganaway had just won a Facebook lottery and was presented with an award certificate for $500,000. The messenger went on to tell Ganaway she was one of five lucky Facebook winners who win this contest every three years.
Ganaway says the person sending the Facebook messages had all of her contact information including her full name, email address, home address, and phone number. When Ganaway questioned the legitimacy of the award, the Facebook messenger said that because the FBI is involved, it was all legit.
"She verified everything," she said.
Next, Ganaway was told she would be hearing from someone with FedEx about her check delivery. She received a call soon after.
The man, identified as Williams E. Taylor is based in Memphis. He shared a photo of what appeared to be a FedEx identification badge and used a Google number to make phone calls and texts. He called Ganaway to schedule a delivery.
Ganaway says after this person congratulated her, he said she'd need to submit $350 in processing fees before he could deliver the check. She would have to pay first before she received her big pay-out. The FedEx person snapped a photo of the apparent $500,000 check and sent it to Ganaway.
"I'll never have a check that big with my name on it," she said.
Throughout this process, Ganaway says there were a number of easily identifiable red flags. She says a FedEx courier would never know what's in a package addressed to her. She also says it got weird when someone claiming to be Mark Zuckerberg sent a text message. Tuesday and Wednesday, Zuckerberg is testifying before Congress.
Text messages about whether or not Ganaway was going to send the $350 in processing fees by MoneyGram or Western Union continued throughout the day Tuesday.
"I'm here to know if you are ready to claim your winning check or not," one of the texts read.
While Ganaway was excited about the possibility of a big pay-out, she is urging others to recognize the signs of a scam and she's thankful she saw the red flags before it was too late.
Since these interactions started, Ganaway says the person who initially contacted her about the Facebook price deleted her Facebook account. FedEx says the photo ID sent to Ganaway is not an official FedEx employee badge.
For more tips on detecting online scams, visit the FedEx Customer Protection Center.
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