A warning for Facebook users, hackers are using the profiles of your trusted friends to cheat you out of your hard-earned money.
A valley woman was a recent target. We have her story in a Contact 13 consumer alert.
"She's never ever sent me a message," says Loretta Browning.
She was surprised to see a recent message from a Facebook friend. The two of them see each other once or twice a week. So they don't typically contact each other through Facebook.
"And I ask, well how are you? And then she says I'm good and happy with Empowerment Agency Program. And I thought, what," says Loretta.
Her friend was claiming to be the winner of a major grant. And it turns out, Loretta was a winner too.
"I saw your name among the winners list, when the Empowerment Agent brought cash to my home. I was saying, I don't have any idea what you're talking about," says Loretta.
Her friend directed her to another Facebook profile, for the man in charge of handing out the grant money.
"Tell him you want to know if your name is still on the winner's list," says Loretta.
She did that, and found out, she was the winner of a $50,000 prize. To collect the money, she had to provide some information.
"I gave him my name. I gave him my address. I gave him my phone number," says Loretta.
But that's not all. Loretta was told she'd have to wire him a $750 clearance fee.
"Bells are going off at this time, and I'm thinking, oh wait a minute here," says Loretta.
She spoke with her friend in person, who verified, she never sent out a message about the Empowerment Agency Program. It turns out someone hacked into her account and sent that message. Now Loretta is taking time to warn others.
"If you get this, it's a scam... Don't fall for it. Because I did. I got really caught up in it," says Loretta.
So here's the Contact 13 bottom line. Never pay an up-front fee for any sweepstakes or lottery. And never wire funds to someone you don't know. Once you do that, your money is gone for good.