Over 30 Queenslanders have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in a slick-looking lottery scam targeting Facebook users.
Police say victims have been unexpectedly contacted on their Facebook account by a person claiming to be an employee of the social media giant, advising they've won the $7.5 million prize in the “Facebook Lottery”.
Victims are asked to pay legal, late or administrative fees to “unlock” or release the money, which could be transferred in instalments totalling hundreds or thousands of dollars.
The latest version of the scam involves the victim being sent a very realistic looking Facebook branded credit card, which allegedly becomes “active” once the victim pays a further $7500 on top of prior fees.
Detective Acting Superintendent Melissa Anderson of the Financial and Cyber Crime Group said once this is done, users are told they'll be sent their winnings.
“This is just a rehash of a number of long running phishing based lottery scam, just reinvented with a social media angle,” she said.
“There is no Facebook lottery and certainly no Facebook credit card. Victims lose the $7500 and every other instalment or fee they have paid.
“This is just another example of criminals targeting vulnerable members of the community.”
Police say the latest victim from Mackay lost over $100,000 in the scam, with fears there could be more victims.
“We continue to plead with the community to realise that if someone contacts you out of the blue to present you with winnings, a once in a lifetime opportunity or a chance to gain hundreds, thousands or millions of dollars, you MUST ignore it or seek independent advice to verify the claims,” Detective Acting Superintendent Anderson added.
“Make sure you are in control of your personal details and be wary of anyone seeking your information online or over the phone. You can’t win lotteries unless you buy a ticket.”
For quick tips about how to keep your Facebook account secure and avoid scams and phishing, please visit Facebook's official fact sheet on the issue.