Dog lovers have been warned not to fall for a heartbreaking scam that has exploded on Facebook.
The ruse spreads through local groups on the platform, luring people with fake posts about lost or injured pets.
In some disturbing cases, it also affects missing children.
The posts usually follow a similar theme and say something like, “Hi everyone, I’m desperately trying to find the owner of this cute girl I picked up on the side of the road in the (location) area about half an hour ago.
“She was taken to the vet but doesn’t have a chip.
“Please help improve this post so she can be reunited with her owner as soon as possible.”
It’s not uncommon for people to post things like lost dogs or missing children to local Facebook groups, given the sense of community many have.
The idea behind the scam is to excite your heart and get you to share the post.
But unfortunately it is a nasty scam.
The purpose behind this is so that scammers can edit the post into something completely different after the fact.
According to the Better business officeplace something like a misleading rental ad or a link that points to a survey that “guarantees” a cash prize.
But now that you’ve shared it on your profile, friends might think it’s real and click on it.
So you have unintentionally placed Facebook friends on dubious sites where they can be scammed.
“These ‘bait-and-switch’ ads aim to either obtain a rental deposit before the user has a chance to view the home — or to obtain your personal information, which could lead to identity theft,” warns the BBB.
It’s a cruel trick, because real cases could get muddled in the process.
A meta spokesperson told The Sun: “We are sorry to hear that people are being misled in this way.
“We are investing heavily in technology and people to remove scammers from our platforms.
“We also work closely with Stop Scams UK to help victims and eliminate scams at the source.”
How to spot a scammer on Facebook
There are ways to find out if the person posting in a group is a scammer or not.
First, click on their profile and see where they are from.
If it says far away from somewhere, that should be an instant red flag.
Then look at the type of account they have.
If they don’t have many friends or followers, that means they are very likely a scammer.
That’s because bad actors usually get caught and have their accounts banned, meaning they have to create a new one every time.
You should also see how long they’ve been a member – if it’s recent, that’s definitely not a good sign.
Check out the comments too, some members are good at highlighting these criminals.
Another tip is to copy and paste the text of your post into Google to see if others have flagged it.
Finally, you can also do a reverse image search of the pet on Google to see if it has been used elsewhere.
If you suspect a scammer, be sure to report them.
It prevents others from possibly becoming victims.
The best tips and hacks for phones and gadgets
Looking for tips and hacks for your phone? Want to find these secret features in social media apps? We’ve got you covered…
Get the latest news about WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook and other tech gadgets here.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at email@example.com
https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9922070/facebook-group-scam-fake-lost-dogs/ Millions of Facebook users warned of heartbreaking dog scam that continues to spread