Facebook Scam Tricks Users into Believing They Unknowingly Made a Donation to ISIS

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Who doesn’t enjoy that rush of doing something good for others? Facebook has been building on that recently by letting you connect to a favorite charity and asking your friends to donate to it. It’s helping so many worthwhile charities.

But it’s best to stick with a charity and not branch out and help people individually that you don’t know. While it is a wonderful thing to want to help people who are less fortunate, there are always going to be nefarious individuals to spoil the fun. Facebook users are being scammed into thinking they donated to a terrorist organization such as ISIS.

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The United States Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General issued a warning explaining that scammers have been befriending people on Facebook-connected apps, such as Messenger or Words with Friends, expressing a hardship, and asking for money.

After the money is sent, they then trick the giver into believing they donated to a terrorist organization such as ISIS or al Qaeda and connect them to a “lawyer” who requests more money as a retainer.

DHS explains that this scam works because it involves time and multiple steps, and that gives the scammers creditability. A relationship has to be established, and it’s not known where the money is really being sent. So once it’s sent, it’s easy to convince someone they were tricked into sending money to terrorists.

Also leading to the credibility is that phone numbers of government and police agencies are spoofed, leading the victim into believing they really did mess up initially and donate to terrorists, and that can be frightening, not only thinking about the donation, but also thinking you’re going to be in trouble with the government.

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“Legitimate law enforcement callers will never ask you to pay fines over the phone or request money from you,” said the DHS Office of the Inspector General in a press release.

“If there is a question about the validity of a call, we encourage the public to call the relevant field office number of the government agency and ask to be put in touch with the individual who called you.”

What to Do If You Believe You Are a Victim

The first thing you need to know is that you should only make donations through Facebook that are to legitimate charities, not people that you meet and befriend, no matter how nice they are and no matter their supposed hardship.

If you get a phone call from someone informing you that you donated to ISIS or other terrorists, don’t give up more money for attorney’s fees.

If you believe you’ve already been a target of this scam, you can contact the hotline for the DHS Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-323-8603 or file a complaint online with the department.

Were you hit with this scam, tricked into donating, then told you donated to ISIS, and then asked for attorney fees? Let us know in the comments.

One comment

  1. There is a certain percentage of population that is susceptible to scams. Whether it is the IRS scam or bogus contribution to ISIS scam or the Nigerian prince scam or a relative in trouble in a foreign country scam, or any of the dozens of other scams these people will fall for it. They seem to have a blank spot in their critical reasoning when it comes to scams.

    “The first thing you need to know is that you should only make donations through Facebook that are to legitimate charities”
    Make contributions directly to the charitie(s) of your choice. Do not use intermediaries such as Facebook or any social network. The more intermediaries your money goes through, the more chance that some, or all, of it will “stick” to somebody’s greedy fingers.

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