Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Beware of Scams, Fake Facebook Chats Promising Government Assistance

There were plenty of scams, hoaxes, and fake Facebook chats making the rounds last week. One individual impersonated a local person on Facebook, friended their friends on Facebook, and gave fake chats touting a Community Development Financial Assistance program from the government. However, there is no such thing for individuals. There is such a program; however, it is for institutions to offer lower-income people deals that they wouldn't normally take a risk on. Such chats are only designed to separate people from their money.

Another scam involved an app impersonating the popular video site YouTube. There is no such thing as a YouTube app for Facebook. One in particular hijacked user accounts and posted fake news stories such as the false claim that GOP Presidential Candidate Donald Trump died of a heart attack. These can be used for ID theft purposes, or clickbait, to draw traffic to a site for advertising revenue.

Other recent Facebook scams involve the crime of prostitution. Certain individuals will friend people on Facebook and then initiate fake chats soliciting sex. Prostitution, patronizing a prostitute, solicitation, and promoting prostitution are all illegal in the state of Missouri. The gender of the participants is immaterial in Missouri. People should not accept such solicitations, because such individuals can represent themselves as being over 18 when they are not. Belief that someone is over 18 when they are not is not a defense in Missouri. Prostitution is illegal in 48 states. If the individual is under 18, people can also be prosecuted for statutory sodomy or statutory rape as well, depending on the circumstances. Undercover cops will take to social media and chat rooms to find people, so the hot model who noticed you on Facebook might really be a cop seeking to bust you for patronizing a prostitute or statutory rape.

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