A friend sends you a message out of the blue and asks for a favour. You think nothing of it and oblige.
Here are some of the things that your “friend” could be asking for:
Purchase a gift card
Send a message to a number
Send an email to someone
Add an account on Facebook
And they actually reply you and hold a small conversation. They sound a little off, but sometimes you brush it off and do as you’re told.
Congratulations – you and your friend have both fallen victim to an impersonation scam.
Your friend’s account quite likely got hacked. Now, it is not so easy to hack a Facebook, WhatsApp or Hotmail account. What probably happened, was that they were tricked into revealing their password. This is easily done through a “phishing” technique…if you don’t know what it is, look it up.
And you, by obliging to your “friend’s” request, had fallen victim to an impersonation.
This is not your friend, they are simultaneously contacting everyone on the target’s Facebook list and asking everyone to do the same thing too.
A famous Line (a chat application) scam goes like this:
a.) Conmen would sign on and impersonate the user and ask someone in the user’s friends list for iTunes gift cards.
b.) After giving an assurance that they would pay for the card later, they would persuade the friend to take a picture of the redemption code for the gift card and send it through over Line.
c.) Thinking that the requests were indeed made by the victim, whose account was compromised, the unsuspecting friends would comply
By the time the ruse was discovered, the gift cards had been fully redeemed by the culprits.