Scammers use Facebook ‘friend’ against Lexington victim in online scam

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LEXINGTON, N.C. — A Lexington woman is putting aside her shame and anger and trying to spread the word about a scam that took advantage of her Facebook friends.

Someone pretending to be a woman that Lynn Leonard knew years ago reached out to Leonard through Facebook Messenger to tell her about a jackpot they had supposedly won. The fake friend informed Leonard that she was also a winner.

The fake friend told her to reach out to a contest representative about how to collect $150,000. Leonard was told to wire money in order to collect her winnings.

“Before I did any of this I'd ask my friend,” said Leonard. “My friend said, ‘Yeah, that's what I had to do because you're going to get everything back.’”

Leonard sent a $1,000 and $1,500 payment but on Monday, when she was asked to transfer another $5,000 she went to police.

“I feel betrayed and ashamed,” said Leonard.

Leonard is not hiding in shame; however she’s being proactive and sharing her story so it doesn’t happen to any of her friends.

“I've always been so protective of my neighborhood and we look after each other but now it’s time for me to look after my county (Davidson) because they'll do it again -- if they haven't already -- using my picture.”

Leonard used to work in banking and education. As a lifelong resident of North Carolina, she has hundreds of friends who may remember her from the past and trust that she is really the one telling potential victims to trust the scam that took her money and personal information that could lead to identity theft.

“I've got go to my bank and I have to put a hold on transactions tied to my social security number,” said Leonard.

Leonard said she pursued the money because she wanted to fund another mission trip to Honduras to help children there but those plans are on hold for now. She’ll put her focus on educating the community about the scam.

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