The Facebook Money Scam: What It Is And How To Protect Yourself From It

Think twice before giving money to people on the social media platform

Person sneaking away with a large smartphone - Facebook Money Scam

Lifewire / Theresa Chiechi

If you receive a message from one of your Facebook friends asking for financial help, think twice before breaking out your wallet. It could be a scam. Here's what you need to know.

What Is The Facebook Money Scam?

The Facebook Money scam is when a hacker takes over your account and posts a fake plea for financial help. People are fooled into donating cash that goes to the scammer, not you.

How Does The Facebook Money Scam Work?

A hacker starts this scam by hacking into your Facebook account and posting a plea for help on your page. They may change your username and password, locking you out of your account. Then, they send messages to your Facebook friends asking for money, stating you're in dire need and need the money right away.

The message your friends get looks real. It came from your Facebook page, so who else could it be from? They send money to an account the hacker set up for this scam, like a Paypal or Venmo account. It could also be a physical address where people are encouraged to send checks. But, the money goes to the hacker and not you.

How Do The Facebook Money Scammers Find Victims?

The scammer needs your Facebook login information to access your account and masquerade as you. They often get this information using Trojans, keylogger viruses, and forms of malware.

How Do I Avoid Getting Involved In This Scam?

You can avoid this scam by safeguarding your personal information. Keep your anti-virus and anti-malware programs updated. Don't click unfamiliar links in emails. Don't open unfamiliar attachments. If hackers can't get your login information, they can't pretend to be you on Facebook.

If you're on the receiving end of a fake Facebook message asking for money, reach out to the person (use a method other than the social media platform) and make sure the message is legitimate before giving them any money.

I’m Already a Victim. What Should I Do?

If you've been hacked, notify your friends on Facebook so they're not fooled by the scam. Then, run up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer to eliminate any viruses lurking on the hard drive. Once you're sure your PC is free of any malicious programs, contact Facebook customer support and tell them what happened so they can recover your account. Create a strong password.

If you think you've donated money to a Facebook scammer, contact your bank to try and void the transaction. If you gave the scammer your banking or credit card information, you'll need new accounts and cards. Keep an eye on your accounts for a while afterward to make sure everything is normal.

How Do I Avoid Being Targeted For The Facebook Money Scam?

This type of scam is easily avoided by exercising caution when online. Don't click unfamiliar links in emails and don't run executable files sent in email messages. This goes for Facebook Messenger as well. Always keep your anti-virus and anti-malware programs updated. And treat any requests for money online with skepticism. Even if the request looks legitimate, do some research before offering any money.