Plenty of people who are connected to the internet are catching up with friends on social media or randomly surfing the web. Unfortunately, so are scammers. They are taking advantage of social networking sites, earning victims’ trust by pretending to be someone they already know and sending out a message or two with COVID-19 news, a fundraising request or perhaps a great deal on a product.

While scrolling through Facebook, a message pops up in Facebook Messenger. It’s your friend, family member or neighbor. At least it “looks” like them because the profile picture matches. From here, the conversation goes one of two ways. In one version, your “friend” tells you about the most awesome deal or video they found online. Just select a link, share the good news or simply respond to the message. In some cases, perhaps you want to take part in the offer and are ready to pay a processing fee and tax.

Would your real friend pass along this type of information?  

In another version, the “friend” claims to be raising money for a charity to support emergency personnel, a food bank or some other organization that draws your attention. They’ll push for a donation and yet, it sounds suspicious. But the message appears to be coming from someone you know and trust.

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