Fraud among friends: How scammers are using Facebook to fool you

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MILWAUKEE -- Log on to Facebook and there's one thing you are guaranteed to find: friends.

So chances are, you've had a conversation like the one Leslie Sanzo did.

"She sent me a message saying 'Hi how are you doing?' and I said I'm doing good how about you?" Sanzo said.

An innocent enough start to a chat with a close friend -- but it's one Sanzo won't soon forget.

Her Facebook friend then told her she's "doing good and just waiting for [her] money."

Sanzo asked if she won the lottery.

"I got it from the IMF grant thing and did you hear of it?" her Facebook friend messaged back.

The offer seems too good to be true -- but you can trust your friends, right?

Leslie went to the link her friend gave her and was told she too qualified for some cash.

The memo read, "International Money Fund. This is to certify that Leslie Sanzo has been awarded the sum of $50,000 USD and has been cleared of due process and other related issues."

It was riddled with spelling errors.


The "certificate" sent to Leslie Sanzo, claiming she had won.

And it turns out -- Sanzo's Facebook friend had been hacked.

Sanzo later found out, scammers had been using her friend's profile.

A man named Scott Kimberly went back and forth with her about how much the "transportation fees" were going to cost.

They settled on Leslie paying $600.

She wired the money -- and then they told her they needed more because the truck had been pulled over by the IRS.

Sanzo started asking questions, and that's when more than her money disappeared.

"I kept checking his Facebook and his Facebook was still there and kept checking my messages," Sanzo said. "And all of a sudden his Facebook disappeared."

Christopher Miller with the IRS says it's a very clever scam.

He said he isn't surprised Sanzo was told the money truck was pulled over by an agent Richard Weber.

A simple internet search shows Weber is the chief of criminal investigations for the IRS.

"We have heard about scammers recently using the names of IRS officials or other government officials to make their hoax seem real," Miller said. "It's just one more way that they lure people in."

People like Sanzo, who wanted to believe she had money coming and was embarrassed when she phoned her friend.

"If I would've called her ahead of time, to find out she had been scammed and it wasn't her, we never would've did it," Sanzo said.

Sanzo paid the price, but she said she called Contact 6, so you won't make the same mistake.

Next time a "friend" sends you a strange message, you won't be caught in a conversation crime.


  • Peoplearedumb

    It’s amazing how dumb these people are that fall for the Nigerian scam. That’s all this is, another twist on the Nigerian scam. With all of the misspellings and obvious red flags (Asking for money to GIVE you money?!) you think people would be smart enough to know better and figure out their friend’s account was hacked. Well, obviously the person who lost money was a typical “Public Education System” raised kid that doesn’t have a lick of sense.

    • Fed-up

      They most likely didn’t even notice the spelling errors. If you’re dumb enough to think you can enter your name and address to qualify for $50K, then send them money, I really think you deserve to learn the hard way. When anyone pushes you or threatens you to send money, tell them you’ll be waiting.

  • james

    Yaci was amost scamed for 900,00$ was replyed to a facebook friend request was really a great long chat she was very sincre i thought her facebook page

  • china327

    my friend emailed me on facebook saying that she had just got a lot of money and that she saw my name on the list and to call or email the man about my money me knowing you can never get free money from no where lol so I did and the man says yes your name is on the list so played along for a while and she was talking to me on facebook just keep asking what he say I told oh no I didn’t hear from him yet so I ask her how much money did you pay him she told me I then ask will they come to my door with all that money she say , yes I say do they come at nite she say yes I say wow then she ask me do you have the money to send I say no not today she email back and ask when will I have the money I tell her oh maybe next week she email back and ask what day next week she was on me for the money until I told her since she got all that money to loan me the money to get mine she say oh I put it in the bank I said well go get some and as soon as I got my money to my door that I will have her money to her and we live three doors down so she know it was all good cause when I come out my door she always see me so she know I could not ran away nowhere so I ask the man where and who to send the money to wow he said a address in ogun nigerica I said to myself now how could some one in Africa be giving out free money when they live on a dollar a day hahaha and last week I had a man in cape town sout Africa send me a check telling me to hurry and take it to my bank and send him half back I knew better than that so I go to the bank and ask is the check real the teller looked at it and said no so if I would have gotten the check clear at the bank and send him half I knew that I would have to pay all the money back while he in cape town enjoying from some American fool

  • john parker

    good day online readers my name is john parker,If you’ve lost
    money gram or western union because
    of a scam,report it to
    Anti Fraud network, the worldwide fraud reporting centre.
    You can report the scam.You can also forward scam emails to
    You will need to provide as much information as
    possible, for example any names or other
    information about the scammer, dates and details
    about how the money has been lost I recovered my money
    through laying my
    complain to the email or call
    305-209-4621 on how you
    were threatened.
    If you’ve been threatened with physical violence on
    your doorstep, you can report this to the police.
    john parker

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