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Scams on Social Media. I won money and want to give you part of it. Don't engage. It's a scam.

Say you’re scrolling through your social media feed and you see a post saying, “I’m the winner of $600 million from the Powerball lottery. I’m giving away $50,000 to the first one thousand people to message me.” Would you answer? If you do, you could become the target of a scam.

Scammers are impersonating lottery winners on social media, often using the names of real winners to make their posts sound legit. If you reply to their posts, the fake lottery winner might ask for your phone number and send a text saying you won the money but need to act fast. That’s the first red flag. Why the time pressure?

Then they’ll tell you to put hundreds of dollars on gift cards, take pictures of the cards, and text the numbers from the back of the card to cover “processing and delivery fees.” That’s definitely a scam. Only scammers ask for gift cards as payment.

Just commenting on a post like this might seem fun and harmless. But it can lead you to engage with a scammer…and your feed will be bombarded with similar posts and even more scammers to deal with. Avoid them with these steps.

  • Don’t pay to get a prize. Real prizes are free. Anyone who asks you to pay a fee for "taxes," "shipping and handling charges," or “processing fees” to get your prize is a scammer. Stop and walk away.
  • Ignore “free money” posts. Anyone in your social media feed saying they have money to give you is a scammer.
  • Never send money to someone you met online. Especially one who insists you only pay with gift cardswire transfers, cryptocurrency, or payment apps like Apple Pay, CashApp, PayPal, or Zelle. That’s a sign of a scam.

People who know about scams are more likely to be able to spot them. So, please share what you know with your friends and family, and report scams at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

JAS
May 21, 2024

1. Report
2. Block
3. Delete

Ellen C Nash
May 21, 2024

Very helpful if not obvious.

Lynne Lyons
May 21, 2024

Thanks for your warning. I appreciate you.

Steve Brown
May 21, 2024

At least once or twice a week I receive something from someone on Facebook.com telling me that they have received anywhere from $150,000 to $450,000 in cash from someone representing the Community Block Development Program (CBDP) or some other type of Federal Program. All I have to do is connect with their site or someone's and answer a few simple questions and give them authority to takeover my Facebook page to solicit/contact people on my address book and they will send thousands of dollars to my friends. I have shut off these people in any way possible.
I believe that you should know about this as this is fraud (if nothing else).

Crotalus
May 22, 2024

Sounds like mostly Facebook scams, but I do see these stupid scammers on Twitter once in a while.
They always have tiny accounts with unbelievable stories about sharing their win 😜
I never follow back, but just report them.

Joann Davis
May 22, 2024

What about all these abbs about money from the Government 5400.00 6400.00 for low income and seniors

FTC Staff
May 22, 2024

In reply to by Joann Davis

The government doesn't offer "free money" for individuals. Federal grants of free money are usually only for states and organizations. But you might be able to get a federal loan for education, a small business, or other reasons. Learn about help paying for food, health care, or utilities on this federal government page: www.usa.gov/benefits.

Brandon Bushnell
May 23, 2024

In reply to by Joann Davis

You missed those on disability, but I believe that goes without saying.

Fernando Velez
May 23, 2024

I am so glad the FTC rolled up their sleeves and embarked in a consumer education and fraud prevention campaign, a task that should be within all (state and federal) consumer protection agencies consumer education activities and campaigns.

Bravo FTC!

n. oligney
May 23, 2024

PCH publisher's clearing house is actual true.. But PCH Publisher clearing house being used as Scammers saying you have won..

Brandon Bushnell
May 23, 2024

I had a scammer inpersonate my dad on Facebook. They somehow know I am disabled and said to reply to some fake account displaying someone I do not know, and said to reply now to this fake profile to claim my earnings of some fake disability program. Acting as is they were my dad, they claimed he won my by replying to this fake Facebook account.

Frank G
May 28, 2024

Thanks for the info. I thought it was a scam but there was that "what if" feeling. Your info brought peace of mind.

Carl bowles
May 30, 2024

They often use fake celebrity endorsements that look real. Dr Phil ,Dr Oz and Taylor swift are scammers current favorites.

Linda carroll
June 03, 2024

Scoot Johnson is supposed to be a government agent, for hhs ,do not contact him on Facebook messenger, for a grant, he has taken a lot of money from me ,and no grant to date .bit late for me ,but be aware of the name
AGENT SCOOT JOHNSON

Penelope Williams
June 10, 2024

Received a text saying I've been chosen to receive a million dollars. Too suspicious

Mary
June 13, 2024

That very scam I've won 371 million. And I wanna give you 100k. Happening right now on Instagram!