Don’t fall for this sick and sophisticated scam.
Social media users are being warned to watch out for new Facebook posts about missing children — with an internet watchdog saying they’re the work of fraudsters trying to steal money.
Full Fact says posts about a missing boy named Tyler have been circulating on the social media platform in recent weeks, initially appearing to be from the boy’s worried parents.
One widely shared post from Dec. 13 reads: “This is the most recent picture of my son Tyler Anderson at his first day of school … He was last seen wearing black Converses with purple and red shoelaces as well as a blue zip-up hoodie.”
“He has dirty blonde hair, blue eyes, and he’s about 5’4-5’5 and 124lb,” the post continues.
The text is accompanied by a photo of a young child identified as Tyler. But according to Full Fact, it’s actually an image of an Australian kid that has been repurposed for the con.
According to the Sun, the scammers urge Facebook users to share the posts on their own profiles in order to raise awareness about the so-called missing children. The more shares a post gets, the more legitimate it appears to be.
Once the information has been widely disseminated, the scammer goes into the original post and edits it — transforming it into an advertisement for surveys or housing websites with embedded links to fraudulent websites.
Because the post has already been shared on thousands of people’s profiles, the ads appear real. Unsuspecting Facebook users who click on the links are asked to enter their credit card details, only to later find their bank accounts apparently drained.
“We’ve fact-checked a range of [other] fake Facebook posts appealing for help with missing parents, lost dogs — and even abandoned babies,” Full Fact states. “These posts often have their comments disabled, which means that other social media users can’t warn that they’re fake.”
The Post reached out to Facebook for comment.
The missing child posts aren’t the only social media scam to gain public attention of late. In October, an Australian woman claimed she almost became a victim of human trafficking at the hands of scammers after trying to offload items on Facebook Marketplace.
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