“Messages” on Facebook is a means to send private notes to friends — or so I thought. For two weeks, a friend has been sending requests for me to text a number and get my name in the government grant money program available for citizens over the age of 65. Instead of using my phone for what it is intended — making phone calls, I sent back quick answers of, “Funny,” or “No.”
After several reminders, and curiosity as to what my friend was doing, I text the number. Receiving an immediate response, I wrote back to my friend, “Judy, I sent it, and I heard back…It smells like a scam. I hope you don’t give any bank or credit information. I don’t know what the fee is for delivery, but the offer doesn’t make sense. Remember, if something is too good to be true, it probably is. Just be careful. Also — check out the grammar and sentence structure. The government would NOT be doing business this way. Please tell your friends too. The mandatory fee for delivery is a huge red flag, not to mention the hook about being randomly chosen. Please, beware — seniors are easy targets for scammers.”
She wrote back through email, “Messenger has taken the opportunity to send that message to you without my knowledge. Also, Messenger has been used to try to scam me by making me believe I was talking to a friend in Florida when it wasn’t them. I am very leery of Messenger, but I hate to give it up since it is a way of communicating with certain people.”
All I can add, “Shame on them!” What a despicable operation. Not only are they pretending to be someone’s friend, but they are also explicitly targeting seniors who are more vulnerable and often living close to or below the poverty level.
It is disappointing, frightening, and infuriating. I have searched for ways to report them, but all I can do is delete the chat from Messenger. My friend never received my messages. They were all sent and received by crooks. And, like robocalls, they won’t get caught. In the meantime, there are seniors thinking this is their chance to get a little cash. I’m guessing they give their banking information so the money can be deposited in their account. The hopeful senior sends the fee, only to find out, too late, the deposit was short — not valid — a SCAM.
Be on guard, and pass the word to seniors in your world.
To scammers, Shame on YOU!
Until the next time: Live while you live.
Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.
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