Words with Friends is a word game for multiple players. Players take turns building words in a manner similar to the classic board game Scrabble. But it also has a social media element to it.
Players can trade instant messages with opponents during each match.
This is where scammers want to join in. They typically target older people who may be lonely and ask lots of questions to get to know their victims and build rapport through appearing to be interested, using compliments and discussing their own fabricated life.
One common story is of a man who claims to be a widowed engineer working aboard ships on the high seas. As each match proceeds, the man (often named Owen) shares that his wife had died in childbirth, and that his daughter is being raised by a cousin or a nurse while he worked aboard ship.
Eventually, after months, catastrophe strikes Owen. His daughter needs an operation that costs $20,000, but Owen is stuck aboard a ship of the coast of Turkey, or some other remote place. Owen then asks the woman player for money.
He will bleed the victim of money until she stops paying and he may have numerous victims on the go at any time.
This scam also works with female scammers chasing lonely old men.
Stay safe From Scammers:
- Don’t play online games with people you don’t know in real life.
- If you do play the game with strangers — then don’t share personal information. The more questions a stranger asks you — the more suspicious you should become.
- Change your profile picture to something less likely to attract the attentions of a scammer e.g. a picture of your dog or anyone’s dog rather than you.
- Never send money to people you don’t know.
- When in doubt: research your opponent to see if they are a real person or just a scammer’s imagination.
If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-wasters do let me know, by email.