This is certainly a scam, which is clear from what has happened so far. This particular type of scam is a version of so called ‘advance-fee fraud’ because the victim is asked to make advance payments before anything they have been promised materialises.
The best way to determine if this is one is by identifying certain 'red flags' which are often present in the build-up. The following are the most common ones and if they have occurred in this situation then it is almost guaranteed it is a scam:
· You are contacted, usually out of the blue, and informed you have won a lottery, prize or other draw. However, you can very rarely just win without actually buying a ticket or entering in the competition in some way - no one just gives money away like that. Also there is no such thing as a Facebook Lottery, it just does not exist
· Before the prize materializes, you are asked to pay a sum of money for various reasons, usually as a clearance fee, administrative costs, taxes, etc. This is the advance-fee part of the scam. In reality, a genuine winner would never have to pay anything in advance to get their winnings.
· Tempted by the potential return, you pay the money in good faith. The usual request is for it to be sent via Western Union, Moneygram, prepaid cards, etc. These are the favoured payment methods used by fraudsters as the money can potentially be collected using false identities, it is extremely difficult to trace them that way and you also get no fraud protection.
· Once the payment has been sent, the fraudster either stops all contact and the promised money never materializes, or they return and ask for further payments due to new issues, which have suddenly arisen.
So in summary, if an unknown person contacts you to promise you winnings but asks you to pay them something in advance, whatever the reasons – you basically know it is a scam. Do not proceed any further with this. Do not continue communicating with them and certainly do not send money if asked to.
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