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Facebook scamsters now using duplicate IDs for ‘friend in need’ con

Read on to find out how to safeguard yourselves from this latest scam.

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MUMBAI: Facebook users beware! There’s a scam gathering pace once again on the social network. And the deceivers are borrowing it from the email phishers who conned many an unsuspecting innocent in the past. At that time, the rogues would pretend to be someone else you knew, and would send you an email sounding desperate, asking you for money as they were in a spot. Many got suckered and parted with their cash.

In the case of Facebook, the con is about these fraudsters creating a duplicate account of individuals and then putting out friends’ requests to the original account owner’s network. The page looks exactly like the original account with similar pictures; the only difference, the fake account has less friends and family connections.

Once someone adds the fake account as a friend, the impostor keeps asking you for money via Facebook messenger urgently in multiples of Rs 15,000, saying he is in a spot of bother. The first option, he urges you, is to transfer money via Google Pay, the second via PhonePe. And then he is even open to getting the cash to his phone through bank transfer via Airtel Payments Bank.

All along, he keeps sticking to his tone of familiarity – since he has stolen the identity of someone you know – and urgency, saying he is in the hospital with a friend who has met with a major accident.

The only way to find out if it is a swindle that’s about to happen is to have a strong heart and not fall for it. Call the original Facebook account holder and ask him or her whether he or she really needs the money. And that will break the cheater’s fake story.

Many have fallen for this hustle and lost their dough. And there’s no getting it back. For once, you transfer the money, it’s gone. The wheeler dealer deletes the fake account quickly or makes it private. Even his direct messages to you vanish into thin air. And you are that much poorer for your goodness to help someone you thought was a friend or family member in need.

So please tread with caution when someone on a social network asks you for money; don’t say we did not warn you.

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