South Park man loses money in Facebook scam

Posted at 6:59 PM, Jul 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-26 21:59:34-04

A local man is warning others about a Facebook scam he regrets falling for.

Oscar Vargas was scanning his Facebook page when someone contacted him via Facebook Messenger. Someone named George told him that he was selected to win close to $1 million.

"It says, 'Facebook, Oscar Vargas, $950,000,'" said Vargas, as he read the message. "At that point, I said, 'Oh my goodness.' I never won anything like that."

Vargas felt everything about this Facebook prize seemed real.

"These are some people they say had supposedly won something. See, these are winners," said Vargas, as he pointed to pictures sent to him via Facebook's Messenger.

The scammer gave him three options to collect his prize -- either pay by check, by Western Union or by ATM card.

"First of all, I don't give out my bank information to anybody," said Vargas.

Vargas went down to his local grocery store with a Western Union agent to wire the $350. Then, he quickly rushed home to give the tracking information to George, who claimed to be a Facebook employee.

Vargas started to get suspicious after getting another message from George later in the day informing the money is stuck at the airport and can't be released until he sends more money.

"They need $680 more. They need more money," said Vargas. "I said you got to be kidding me."

While 10News was interviewing Vargas, the scammer George actually sent him another Facebook message. Vargas was upset when he texted him back.

"I wish you were here. I would break your neck in two," said Vargas, as he read the message he sent to George. "'Just be calm. All will be well,' he says."

10News contacted Facebook, and a spokeswoman said this is a prize scam that the Federal Trade Commission has been investigating for years. She said Facebook does not, and never has, given out prize money to users.

"I believed he was telling me the truth. I believed that," said Vargas.

He wants to believe authorities will catch up to "George" and the scammers that continued to message him while 10News was getting ready to end the interview.

"4 p.m. your time. If you do not get your winnings, let's meet at court …," said Vargas, as he read another message.

10News also contacted the FBI, and they encourage people to file a complaint online at

The FTC provides background & guidance for consumers:

Facebook recommends for people who want to double check whether something they see online is a hoax or not. Facebooks work closely with Snopes to educate consumers about known hoaxes on Facebook:

For more about potential scams & how to report them to Facebook, visit Facebook's Help Center here: