Cyber Crimes

Facebook Fake Profile SOS Message Fraud

In this kind of fraud, scammer or fraudster either creates an account impersonating an actual Facebook account or hacks into an existing Facebook account. In either case, the scammer/hacker/ fraudster uses the fake/hacked account to send private messages to the account holder's friends that elicit either money or personal information on the pretext of some urgent help/need(SOS). The messages vary, but all are designed to prey on our human vulnerabilities, including:

a. The desire to be a "hero".

b. The desire to appear "generous".

c. The desire to win "free money".

d. The desire to be loved and admired.

e. The desire to avoid shame or punishment.

Current Facebook Messenger scams

SOS Scams:- SOS scammers appear as friend or relative who is in a dire need of some urgent money either for himself or for a friend who is in hospital or met with an accident, and so on and will return the money within one or two days.

Lottery scams:- Lottery scammers appear as friends or organizations who are thrilled to tell you you've won money in some lottery or contest. It's a contest you have no recollection of having entered and to get the prize, you'll have to either pay a fee or "refundable" advance or provide personal information such as your AADHAR, PAN, CARD details, etc.

Donation scams:- Donation scams, which target on gullible persons’ desire to serve a person in need, ask for money on the pretext of helping a needy person, especially in the present times of Covid Pandemic.

Some common signs to identify these types of Frauds

Someone is asking you for money. Any time anyone asks you for money over Messenger, it's immediately suspect. If friends or family ask you to help them in an emergency, always call to speak with them personally to confirm that the message originated with them.

Someone is getting a little too personal. When someone sends you a message requesting personal information, especially identification numbers and financial information, it should be considered suspicious. Do not reveal any such information, until you're certain the message-sender is who they claim to be, but it's probably also a good idea to never reveal any such information over Messenger at all.

Someone is offering something for free. Any kind of "free money" Messenger message, including those involving lotteries, loans, contest winnings, inheritances, lost bank accounts, and reimbursements of money owed.

Someone who wants to take the conversation off Social Media to text, WhatsApp, or email. Internet users should desist from taking conversations off social media platforms to personal messaging applications unless it is absolutely certain, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the message sender is one who they say they are.

Messages that seem out of character for the sender. If a message seems "out of the norm" for the sender, trust your instincts and ignore it.

Messages rife with spelling and grammatical errors. When a message is filled with typos and grammatical errors, you should have your guard up. A single typo is one thing, but things like the misspelling of names and places are a big red flag. Also a big red flag: a writing style that seems "foreign."

Messages from new accounts with few friends. New accounts with few friends should always be considered suspicious until confirmed otherwise. Friend requests from such accounts and from duplicate friend accounts should be considered suspect as well.

Awareness for Social Media/Internet Users:

1. Change your Default Privacy Settings on social media Profiles. Persons who are outside your close circle should not have access to view your friend list, your bio-data, your personal posts, etc.

2. Avoid sharing your name, phone number, photos and other personal details social media platforms.

3. Do not accept friend requests from strangers on social networking sites.

4. Do not trust online users unless you know and can trust them in real life.

5. Do not share your personal information such as address, phone number, date of birth, educational background, occupation data, etc. on social media. Identity thieves can easily access and use this information.

6. Immediately inform the social media service provider, if you notice that a fake account has been created by using your personal information.

7. Do not allow social networking sites to scan your email account to look for your friends and send spam mails to them without your consent or knowledge.

8. Always keep location services turned off on your devices unless necessary.

9. Do not share your vacations, travel plans, etc. on social media.

10. Do not use public computer/ cyber cafe to access social networking websites. It may be may be infected/ installed with a key logger application which will capture your keystrokes including the login credentials.

11. Many social networking sites prompt you to download third-party applications that lets you access more pages. Do not download unverified third-party applications without doing research about its safety.

12. Don’t disclose your e-mail and bank account number to any body.

  • Advise for victims

    1. Immediately contact your Bank to stop the payment you have made

    2. Take a screenshot of the alleged fake profile wherein URL of the said profile is clearly visible.

  • How to make a complaint:

    1. Take a screenshot of the alleged fake profile wherein URL of the said profile is clearly visible.

    2. Lodge a complaint in your nearest Police Station describing complete incidence along with the above mentioned documents.

    3. Save the soft copy of all above mentioned documents in soft form and provide them to the Investigating Officer on a CD-R and also give hard copy.