Forbes magazine’s publication at the beginning of September of the World’s Richest Arabs 2017 list is just what scammers needed to launch a scheme to dupe unsuspecting internet users. Since the publication, scammers have created Facebook pages using names and pictures of some of the billionaires in the Forbes’ list to entice their victims.
UAE billionaires Saif Al Ghurair, Abdullah Al Ghurair and Majid Al Futtaim all have Facebook pages created with their names. Scammers are using the new pages supposedly to tout these billionaires’ secrets to success. Most of the scams have links to fake CNN Money articles featuring “working from home” tricks from the billionaires that will supposedly bring so many riches to the unsuspecting victims that they will be quitting their jobs within just one month. Our search on Facebook lead us to a page showing UAE businessman Majid Al Futtaim’s photo with the caption “Majid: We will make everyone rich!”
Facebook is however not the only vehicle of choice for the scammers. They have cleverly created a Forbez website link that is a decoy to the real Forbes magazine website. The link takes users to a site featuring up-to-date financial news, articles and analysis, some copied verbatim from the real Forbes site. Users who are not careful may think the site is genuine if they don’t pay attention to the ‘z’ in the fake name. The fake site also features testimonies of individuals who made quick riches through the scheme. Another page collects visitor information with promises of winning up to $10,000.
Although Facebook did not directly respond to media requests for information on its efforts to stop the scams, the social media giant has standard guidelines that say “scammers use these fake or compromised accounts to trick you into giving them money or personal information”.
Facebook guidelines advise users to report scams if they noticed any on their site. It has a policy of deleting pages that are proven to be scams. For our readers, we have prepared a list to help you look-out for scammers when you are online.
#1. Rebuff anyone who asks you for money. Some will promise you a loan and ask for an advance fee. Don’t pay the fee. If you pay, you will never hear from them again. If you do not want to ever hear from them again, just tell them to deduct the fee from the initial loan and send you the balance. Flip the game on them!
#2. Refuse requests to move your correspondences to email. Don’t give away your email addresses. Your critical data such as passwords, credit cards and bank details may be stolen through phishing.
#3. Simple spelling mistakes, poor grammar, unverifiable facts are all warning signals for scams.
#4. Don’t throw your money at any institution that does not bear Facebook’s blue badge of verification.
Be smart when you are online!