A SCAM that can leave you hundreds out of pocket is circulating on social media.

Lancashire Police issued a warning to Lancashire residents yesterday (7 June), urging them to think before they give money over the internet.

They also added that if something seems to good to be true- it probably is.

Lancashire Telegraph: An example of a message you might receive on Facebook(Photo: Facebook/@lancspolice)An example of a message you might receive on Facebook(Photo: Facebook/@lancspolice)

Posting to Facebook, Lancashire Police wrote: We are becoming increasingly aware of a scam whereby people are contacted via a Facebook account, saying that the Facebook user is entitled to a grant (around £10k), if they pay a fee for Fedex to ship the money out.”

This one is an example of a gift card scam, where scammers are asking for payment in Google Play vouchers- then making up excuses for when the goods don’t show.

Worryingly, scammers are hacking Facebook accounts and sending these messages to every one of the hacked account’s Facebook friends.

If you are close to the hacked Facebook user, you might just fall for it.

Scammers are also changing the account’s recovery information so people can’t recover their accounts after being hacked.

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: "The scam has been raised by Lancashire residents.

"Thankfully most people don’t fall for. However, when it is being sent from a trusted friend, more people are likely to believe it.    

"The bigger threat to people is the scammer taking over your Facebook. You are unlikely to be able to recover this as the scammers change your recovery address and email."

Lancashire Police say it's not only the government grant scam that people should be aware of.

Lancashire Telegraph: Another example of a what a Facebook friend scam would look likeAnother example of a what a Facebook friend scam would look like

In the last week, they have also had two reports of Facebook takeover and the scammer has been fraudulently selling items (which don’t exist) from the hacked Facebook account.

How can I avoid getting scammed?

Lancashire Police offer three pieces of advice for anyone hoping to secure their social media accounts and avoid getting hacked.

They are:

1. Make sure you have strong passwords set up for your accounts

2. Turn on two-factor authentication for your accounts

3. Change your passwords regularly

Facebook has also issued some advice and things to look out for when it comes to Facebook scammers.

They are:

  • People who you don't know in person asking you for money.
  • People asking you to send them money or gift cards to receive a loan, prize or other winnings.
  • Anyone asking you to pay a fee in order to apply for a job.
  • Pages representing large companies, organisations or public figures that are not verified.
  • People asking you to move your conversation off Facebook to a less public or less secure setting, such as a separate email.
  • People claiming to be a friend or relative in an emergency.
  • People who misrepresent where they are located. If someone signs up for Messenger using their mobile phone number, you may be able to check which country their phone number is from. If you're concerned that a Page may be scamming you, you can check the page's location.
  • Messages or posts with poor spelling and grammatical mistakes.
  • People or accounts directing you to a Page to claim a prize.

If you have been a victim of a scam, or think you have been sent a scam message on social media, contact Action Fraud. 

Have you ever fallen victim to a scam? Send your stories to sarah.mcgee@newsquest.co.uk.