Salisbury man victim of Facebook scam, duped out of $2,000

Published 12:34 pm Thursday, September 17, 2020

SALISBURY — An 81-year-old Salisbury man was scammed out of $2,000 via Facebook messages, but police investigators said it could’ve been much worse.

The man was told his niece received a grant, but the person messaging needed more information from the man to help process the paperwork. The man willingly handed over the requested information which included a picture of his driver’s license and his social security number. The man also purchased four Nike gift cards, each for $500, according to Salisbury Police detective Russ DeSantis.

The scammers then asked the man for $35,000, which he declined to pay and called the police.

DeSantis said these types of scams — via Facebook, other social media site, phone call, letter or email — occur quite often. He warned residents about providing private information to strangers. He recommended residents contact the family member or even contact law enforcement if they are unsure.

“Verify information before you give out personal information,” DeSantis said.

He said no legitimate grant program or similar operation would ask for payment in the form of gift cards.

Anyone who believes they’ve been the victim of a scam should contact the police department at 704-638-5333 or Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.