Here we go again! I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. It’s a great place to see what other people are up to, it’s where a load of you hang out – but on the other hand, it can be a complete cesspit, filled with scammers (check out Bee Loans and Facebook).
Here I was, minding my own business, scrolling along and I saw it. A too good to be true offer. A FREE £3000. Now, who wouldn’t want that?
Universal Credit Facebook scam
The post in a local buying and selling group said: “£££££ £3000 INSTANT. Who’s been on universal credit for under 5 weeks on their current claim… message me asap or even better add me on Snapchat: Active247job. £3000 within 5/10 minutes.. you keep £1800 and send the rest to an account I give you.”
The person writing the post was a pretty young girl called Jess. I asked on social if I should name and shame – because this made me MAD. But after reverse image searching her pictures on Facebook, it was clear the account was fake.
Her pictures were of some instagrammer in America. Also, check out the picture of the money on the bed. There are some dollars on there too. The whole thing was dodgy.
So I had to get involved!
How does the scam work?
The reason the scammer wanted to find people who have recently signed up to Universal Credit is because UC claimants can apply for an advance payment to tide them over while they wait for their claim to be sorted – it can take five weeks!
The advance payment isn’t free money though – they’ll have to pay it back.
The whole Universal Credit system can be pretty confusing, especially to new people signing up – they’re also likely to pretty skint too. Typically, no-one is in a good place financially when they go to sign on.
Scammers know this, so will promise all this money, ask for your Universal Credit login and apply for the biggest advance possible, pretending they are you.
They then insist you pay them around half of the money you get. Many people don’t realise they have to pay the money back either.
It’s a really scummy thing to do – taking advantage of people who are vunerable.
Well, of course Lotty had to get involved
That post annoyed me. Scammers are the lowest of the low. And I just can’t not get involved if there was a chance to ‘out’ them in some way.
I messaged the scammer pretending I was on Universal Credit to see how it worked.
I figure that if YOU see what a conversation looks like, you’ll be able to recognise it and protect yourself, and others, when you’re on Facebook.
Here’s how the conversation went:
Me: ‘Hey – saw your post. I’m on universal credit.
Lowlife scammer: Hey. How long u been on it. x
Me: Only 3 weeks. x (Do you like how I put in an ‘x’ after the scammer did. I’m a proper investigative journalist! I’m Louis Theroux!)
Scumbag scammer: Perfect. U been to your first appointment and got an advance?
Me: (Trying to find out if they would outright lie) I’m a bit confused. Is it free money?
Idiot Scammer: Well, my mate works in there. I have staff logins where they can send payments. (LIES! THE LIES!)
The bit where I try and fail to outsmart the scammer
So I’ve realised this is a fake account, and they want my Universal Credit login, which I don’t have. So I need to figure out what to do next.
I try to work out if this is one person, or a company in some way doing it. I ask them, ‘Is it your account I put money in? Or is it a company?
Vile scammer: Erm my account lol. Why would you wanna pay a company? (the attitude on this slimy grotbag!)
Halfwit Scammer: Look it’s easy. I login. Send a payment. You send my share. Simple. What’s the UC login? Takes e a minute to see if I can do it or not.
At this point, we had got to the end of the line. I didn’t have a login, and couldn’t figure out who it was.
I tried to get them to give me their bank details ‘so I could make sure it was a real account’. Sure, doesn’t really make sense, but at least I would have been able to get a real name. They weren’t having it without my UC login.
There were insults
So thought I’d part ways with me telling them what I thought about them. I’m going to be honest with you – I was brutal! Yikes.
And can you believe the cheek on this scumbag – they called me fat, which honestly cracked me up! As if my big arse is a decent retaliation for me telling them that there can’t possibly be anyone in their life that is proud of them/their pathetic/scum etc (TRY HARDER IDIOT!). It’s like being called stupid or ugly by Fred West – when you’re pretty much the lowest of the low, your insults don’t really work.
Anyway, I reported the account on Facebook and blocked them. If you see other scammers like this in Facebook groups, please do report.
What a Benefits Advisor said
The lovely Clarice who is one of my Twitter followers offered some insight and advice.
Be careful out there. If something seems too good to be true, it likely is. Even if you’re not on Universal Credit – look out for others on Facebook. People are vulnerable, so use that report button.
If you spot any other scams – let me know, I’ll be more than happy to talk to them!