Selling scams on Facebook Marketplace
SUBLETTE COUNTY — Folks hoping to make an extra buck or two off their spring cleaning efforts by selling items on the public Facebook Marketplace should be on the lookout for scammers pretending to be interested in their wares. The latest scam circulating on the social media platform in Sublette County goes like this: A con artist posing as a buyer sends the original poster a private message asking the seller to provide their phone number as proof that they are a real person. Once the seller has given out their number, the scammer uses it to open a Google Voice account, sends the seller a verification code from Google and asks them for the code to verify their legitimacy. If the seller provides the scammer with that code, they’ve unknowingly granted the scammer an untraceable phone number that can then be used to con other people without being tracked.
The Sublette County Sheriff’s Office is reminding the public that if it sounds too good to be true, or fishy, it likely is. Never share your personal or private information with strangers on the Internet.
Just say ‘no’
How you respond to two simple yes or no questions when the phone rings with a scammer on the other end of the line could be the difference between having your personal accounts hacked and keeping your finances secure. The latest scam circulating both locally and around the United States, according to the Sublette County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO), begins with the caller asking, “Can you hear me?” Then, the caller tries to confirm, “Is this (insert name)?” Next, the caller hangs up and the damage begins to unfold.
Scammers use a recording of the affirmative responses in attempts to authorize unwanted charges on the victim’s personal accounts.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned about the so-called “Can you hear me?” scams since 2017.
If you or someone you know has received such a call and already responded, the SCSO urges you to review all your statements from your bank, credit card lender and telephone company for unauthorized charges.
Anyone who believes they have been targeted by this scam should report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission Report Fraud Center at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/.
Social media ‘swatting scams’
In April, Sublette County residents began notifying the sheriff’s office through calls and tags on social media about bad actors posting swatting scams in the local Post it - Sell it in Sublette County public Facebook group. The original posters use fake Facebook profiles to share photos of elderly people, young children, pets or other vulnerable individuals in potentially dangerous situations in an effort to distract first responders with cases that don’t exist.
One post from the user Hilda J. Walters stated, “URGENT - MISSING!,” and includes the hashtag #SubletteCounty followed by “My uncle Mr. Martin Jones aged 79 drove out yesterday without our dog Baxter and he hasn’t returned. He doesn’t know where he’s going, he has dementia. There is a silver alert activated on him. Please help me bump this post so I can get him home safely.”
Another post purported to depict a missing child with autism and a family dog who became lost in Sublette County.
Other posts feature seemingly injured dogs in crates or near roadways with captions suggesting the pet was involved in “a hit and run” accident with the hashtag #Sublette County. The original poster, which almost always turns off the comments section, then urges people to share the photo across social media.
None of these are legitimate and all are examples of a scam intended to send first responders to an emergency or event that doesn’t exist in order to tie up resources.