Basically, a scammer will hack into your social media accounts or email accounts and target the victims family and friends for money by pretending to be the person associated with the account. They might say they have an injury, got their wallet stolen, or even that they were arrested just to get someone to send them the money. Many times, the stories they fabricate are very believable. Shelley Berhnardt, director of consumer protection at Western Union, cautions us to “…verify the emergency and resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is…emergency scams play off of peoples’ emotions and strong desire to help friends and family in need.”
Of course, you should never send money to anyone without first verifying that the information is correct. Check with other family members and friends to see if they have been contacted, even if the “victim” says to keep it a secret.
For more information, you can also visit Western Union’s Consumer Protection Center.