WA Facebook users have been caught out by scammers masquerading as their friends, offering a share of a lottery win.
The con-artists clone accounts, using pictures of the user's real friends, before sending a message to say they have won a large amount of money.
They then tell the user their name is also on the winner's list, but to access their share, they will need to pay thousands in fees and taxes.
Since April, WA ScamNet has received reports from 18 people claiming to have lost a total of almost $110,000.
The individual losses have escalated in recent weeks with three people reporting to have lost between $14,000 and $16,000 each.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said conniving scammers realise that a Facebook message from a trusted friend would be less likely to be questioned than a random message from an unknown person.
“The victims tell us that they went along with the sting because they thought the message was from a real friend, giving the whole scenario some legitimacy in the minds of those being targeted,” Mr Hillyard said.
“We have been successful in getting the fake Facebook pages and websites shut down, but they just pop up again using different names and the highly lucrative scam continues to claim more victims."
The advice is to check with your friends outside of Facebook if there is a reason to be suspicious.
Do not reply reply or follow any links in the messages, just hit delete and block the sender – there are no real Facebook lotteries or beneficiary lists.
For further information and advice on scams, visit www.wascamnet.wa.gov.au.