I have some glorious news…A scammer impersonating a automobile dealership River Oaks Chrysler-Jeepdodgeram that appeared to be giving away gift cards on a scrupulous Facebook account that I reported in my “12/26/2020 Post: Scam Alert: Facebook Messenger About Winning Prizes – River Oaks Chrysler-Jeepdodgeram – RiverOaksJeep2020” has been officially shut down. The account is now banned on Facebook. Great news, but not taken too lightly. I reported the account that was violating Terms of Service as per Facebook and also violating several federal laws as per the Federal Trade Commission. I did get some resistance from Facebook** at first as to their following through with the obvious disposition of this account where they were requiring contestants from providing credit card information in order to enter a giveaway, which is strictly prohibited. So therefore, I informed all the account’s followers one by one to warn them of the ridiculous way that Facebook had chosen to handle the complaint. They all thanked me, and at least one other person complained. There are always more persons who, instead of wasting their efforts on illegal activities, will be there to replace these individuals. Make sure that you pay attention to the warning signs, because something that looks too good to be true, often times is. Make sure if you are named a winner, that you really entered a giveaway there. You simply cannot be a winner if you did not even enter the giveaway that you are being named the winner in. When you are named a winner in any contest, sweepstakes, or giveaway–when you are named a winner, always make sure that…
- You check the rules and website to see the method whereby you would be contacted if you are a winner. Any deviation from what is in the rules or general information is a warning sign that it is not a real contact from that company’s promotions department.
- Check to make sure that you really entered the said giveaway that you have won. You can only win if you entered. Winning a giveaway that you have never entered is always a red flag. If they state that you won and then when you look, you can see that there is nothing even close to being entered, you will be able to approach the win with a skeptical attitude at most. I recommend changing any default setting on browser history deletions to at least be six month’s minimum because sometimes it takes that long to identify a winner.
- A promotions department identify a name name of the giveaway, whereby you should be able to look up a history visitation report. This is how I catch a lot of spammers. They state that I won and then when I look, I can be the skeptic that is necessary to keep me safe from spammers.
- Pay attention the the way they are contacting you. In my case, they used Facebook Messenger to contact me, and unless I am winning a Facebook giveaway, it looked odd to me that I was redirected to a Google site from Messenger that was not even an official website. You can check to see if it is a website by looking in one of two spots: Scam Advisor to see if the site has any reports against them, and to learn other “whois” information on the website. If the site is not listed, proceed with warning. If there is a report against the website, read it and take caution to the notice.
- Simply check to see when the website started and a little history about the website by visiting Wayback Machine and if it is not located there or comes up with no results, proceed with warning. This service shows the start date of any reputable website.
- Go to Google.com and cut & paste or type in the whole website, including the “http”, “https” plus “://” then plus the whole web address and finally the “/” at the end, hit search and look at the top of the entry above where the link is in boldface there is a greyed line with XXX.com › YYY › ZZZ › a… ▼ Hit the “▼” button directly and a “cached” mini-widow will pop-up and click that window on the cached, it will take a moment for a cached version of the post to come up. If there is no option, observe with caution.
- Pay attention to social media following. No option to follow on social media is a definite red flag. Low following is also a caution to look for, as they should have some following. Also pay attention if it is Facebook or Twitter to what is already posted on the news-feeds, and the type of clientele.
- If you feel that it is an actual real winning, give them the information they need to proceed, but NEVER divulge personal information, social security numbers or personal identification numbers. If it is a real promotion, they will work with you, and don’t act out of desperation. I usually give the information needed such as address, phone number, and wait closer to the half way point between when you have to claim it, but never get too close to the end, because you only have to wait a few hours, because criminals will move to a new target by the time that much time transpires. By doing this delay, I have had over 90 percent of bogus claims already shut down before you are too involved, because desperate criminals move to the easiest targets available. Don’t become one.
What To Do If You Think You Have Been Scammed:
Report the incident immediately to any of the following agencies:
- Your local police station if you are at any monetary loss, especially if you have any recourse to issue a fraud claim, because they will need a police report number in order to initiate a claim.
- The Federal Trade Commission at FTC Complaint Assistant.
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service if you received a check by mail or if the mail was used as a tool to facilitate the fraud.
- Your state or local consumer protection agencies. Visit NAAG for a list of state Attorneys General.
- For online crimes involving cash, counterfeit checks and money orders, file an online complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center which is a joint project of both the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center.
- If it involves a check or draft, notifying the bank whose name is on the check or draft.
- Notify the website or online service where you encountered the scammer (Online auction website or a job posting website), so they can be blocked from utilizing their services to further the scamming in the future.
- If it involved counterfeiting or other bank related criminal activities, contact FDIC.gov or call the FDIC at 1-877-ASK-FDIC (1-877-275-3342).
Everyone wants to be a winner, but don’t become a victim by being cued up by the criminals desperation. Don’t forget that desperation is what the criminal will instill on you because that is what they are feeling! Only the true winners really win in any promotion. Get to know the people who work at certain giveaway stops. I had a person try to represent a local radio station, and the format of the email, address, personal, email all didn’t match that of a previous win. This is not only a red flag, but a definite attempt to trick you into thinking you won when the truth is right in front of you. See through a lie using the tools you have and common sense. ALWAYS be VERY careful, and exercise caution, but if you are a winner, do what you need to to do the claim. A routine will help and it takes years to develop a method whereby you don’t get taken. As I have stated, all individuals like these belong behind bars, but if I can inform the public at large BEFORE they are able to pull another “job” on someone, and I won’t stand still until the handcuffs go on each and every one of them. I will keep you posted about any further development in regards to this case or any future cases like this, or all fraud cases presented to my attention. Another one caught, means we have to look out for the next one! I wish that I could tell you that because one criminal gets taken down that there won’t be another, or the same one with different identity to replace this success of getting a fraudulent website taken down.
** Facebook has in the past banned me in previous months and taken posts down, one being a real giveaway SFW post that I self-sponsored. So I was checking this account and right when I was going to complain officially about the handling by Facebook, they decided to change their mind and take the account down. If they would have left the site up and someone had money missing after the point where they were going to refuse to shut it down, Facebook would have assumed liability for those persons who would have lost money due to a decisions by Facebook. All social media providers need to take sites down that break the law. I have insisted that Facebook should employ more individuals for customer assistance to take a report without law enforcement involved because it wastes law enforcement’s time to take the time to call Facebook when they could be using the time more wisely to fight violent crime. Facebook should not imply that they are policing the internet, because this is NOT what they were invented for by purpose. Taking sites, pages and posts down because they don’t agree with a post or pages content is violating person’s rights to freedom. Facebook was violating their own Terms of Service! They need to have a shake-up, and I support the repeal of Section 230 that supports biased censor and censure that otherwise violates person’s freedom of expression and freedom to voice their opinion and content. Everyone, not just media have their right to free press….and then they don’t even care to do some real investigating when hackers and/or criminals are using their social media to break the law. I am obviously pursuing other avenues in hopes that someday Facebook will became the next AOL, because I have been around long enough to let you know that this is exactly one of the main reasons that AOL did fail, along with terrible business practices and overpricing. Facebook is not in the business to be doing such tasks, and they should be bringing social media access to all patronage.