from Helaine’s writing desk…
As a senior I often feel like a carnival doll, sitting on a shelf as the Scammers and Con Artists toss their pitches at me hoping to knock me down.
Today when I opened the computer I notice I had three messages in the Messenger app that comes with Facebook. All three were names I knew. But still I was going to be cautious. They were all the wave emoji that is used for first messages. Message #1 waved. I waved back, almost immediately she came back with “Hi Helaine, how are you?” “Fine” I replied, “and you?” “Fine” she said and went on to ask if I heard about the EESA… An agency giving money to“needy” citizens. Names had been drawn at random. She said she saw my name on the list. A trip to Snopes web site could not prove one way or the other if this was a scam, but certainly increased my skepticism.
I answered the next wave message with a wave, I get back “ Hi, How are you?” “Fine, You.?” I replied. She says “Fine”… and she goes on to ask if I heard about an agency called National USAID. They give out grants. Another web trip to Snopes. Again no actual proof of a specific scam but more suspicions. I uncovered this sentence. “May 22, 2018 · Scammers continue to con Facebook users out of thousands of dollars with phony government grant offers. You may be among the many Facebook users who have been approached by “friends”
On to message #3. I know her better than the other two and have had messages from her before. They should have displayed over the new message. I didn’t answer it.
I dug deeper. In Messenger, conversations are kept so you can go back to the very beginning. Just above that is the picture of the “Friend” and how you were connected. All of mine say that we are Facebook friends. Except all three of these latest accounts say they were formed without Facebook, using a phone number in USA. Or something close to that. I felt that all three were scams that would some how cost me money if I were foolish enough to follow them through. One of the ladies posted on Facebook that she had been hacked and to not accept “friend” requests from her.
What can we do to protect ourselves? I will not be answering messenger notes that are just a wave until I make sure they have come to Messenger thru Facebook and not by some secret way. If I find it appears to be a phony account I will report it as someone pretending to be a “Friend.” If you write me a note please say something “real” that I would recognize. If I have your phone number I will likely call you to make sure you sent it. Know that the mere mention of money or grants will cause me to slam the computer shut.
I like messenger and use It frequently. It is a quick way to send or receive information. I will not let the cyber crooks take that away from me.
Facebook Messenger: Here’s How to Block and Unblock Someone:
Step 1: Open the conversation with the person you wish to block.
Step 2: Tap the user’s name at the top of the screen.
Step 3: Scroll down and tap “Block.”
Step 4: Tap the toggle next to “Block Messages” to stop the user from being able to send you messages and calls on Messenger.
Facebook, Facebook Messenger, and any of the associated Facebook apps are one of the main sources of scams against seniors. They always coming up with a new approach. Be extremely cautious.