Many of the most popular scams on social media today soon become obvious. The one asking for anyone willing to work a night shift looks like a local event seeking temporary stagehands until you read down the ad and realize they’re claiming you can sign up to work from home for Amazon doing simple tasks like packing gift baskets, and earn hundreds of dollars per week. Others, such as psychics, are apparently not so obvious, as people have fallen for their simple word association games and body language and tone of voice reading for longer than anyone reading this has been alive. Still others are just odd. They definitely seem too good to be true, but many believe them anyway, as there does not appear to be anything in it for the scammer.
This is known as the “blessing” scam. The post appears to be from someone goodhearted and generous. They offer to bless anyone who answers an easy trivia question, or lets them know what time they saw a post. People respond, reasoning that no harm can come from typing the word “food” when asked for a word other than “good” and “book” with two o’s in it, or telling a stranger what time you saw their post. And while no direct harm can come from even the worst person on earth realizing that you know the word “look” or that you saw a post at exactly 9:47 in the morning, the post does serve as a test to see if you will fall for the next steps.
As embarrassing as this may be to accept, you must have had at least a moment of gullibility if you honestly believed there were people out there giving away sums of money to total strangers for completing simple tasks on the internet. There have been instances in which someone was led by the Holy Spirit to bless complete strangers with money. But those situations unfold with the person spontaneously giving the money to the people they are called to bless, or contacting a church or established, well-known nonprofit and discretely arranging a donation to be used to bless someone. A person truly called to bless others in this way would have no reason to give them a test first, no matter how easy the question.
And that next step is where the scam takes off. Once the scammer sees people “liking” or commenting on the post, they can then go back and edit the original post to include a link that downloads malware to your computer. This malware can then be used to access your information, including your banking information. Since you showed the scammers you are not carefully examining things online when you fell for their pitch, they’re confident that you aren’t checking your accounts closely enough or often enough to stop them from making unauthorized purchases on your credit cards, taking out new credit card accounts using your information, or using your identity to open up other types of accounts.
Another popular like farming/blessing scam seems even more harmless at first glance. In this scam, you are not promised any type of blessing. You are asked to give a blessing, and the blessing does not even require you to part with with any money or material goods. All it asks for is a moment of your time.
A photo appears at random on your social media feed. The photo may be of a person or an animal, but the caption is always something that tugs at the heartstrings. “Nobody will say ‘hello’ to me because I’m ugly,” it might read. Or “Today is my birthday. I bet nobody wishes me a happy birthday today.” Sometimes it simply says, “I bet I won’t even get one share!”
Assuming no harm can come to them, and wishing to brighten the day of the person in the photo or the owner of the pet in the photo, people like, share, and respond with “Happy Birthday, Sweetie.” Or “Hello, beautiful girl.”
And just as with commenting “7:26” or “good” in the hopes of winning $3,900, you have now added your name to the list of people who are going to have malware installed on their page, and are probably not paying close enough attention to remove it right away.
Preventing these scams starts with paying attention to what you like, share, and comment on social media. Avoid interacting with these “blessings” posts, no matter how tempting it may be to think there is someone out there who wants to send you money, or how heartbreaking the photo or caption asking for your greeting or share may be. You are not ruining a generous person’s attempt at doing the Lord’s work. The people who posted that “money for your simple answer” offer have no intention of ever giving anyone any type of gift or blessing. And you will not hurt the feelings of a bullied child or lonely pet owner. Those photos are stolen. Their real owners have no idea they are even being passed around online, and will never see your share or greeting. Scroll past, without commenting, liking, or sharing. Should you notice a group or business page getting flooded with these, contact the group or page administrator.
by Jess Szabo
originally published on Artist Cafe Utica website
by Jess Szabo originally published on Artist Cafe Utica www.artistcafeutica.com