12 On Your Side: Facebook friend scam almost costs man $1,200

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News 12 at 6 o'clock / May 19, 2014

BLYTHE, Ga. (WRDW) -- Put a guitar in Ron Cowart's hands and he is in Heaven. "It's my life, absolutely my life. I still play in church," said Cowart.

It is that connection to church that Cowart said almost led to him being scammed. It all started after Cowart accepted a Facebook friend request from what he thought was an old church buddy.

"She asked me have I heard of her good news, and I said no I haven't," said Cowart. He said she claimed to have won $100,000 and asked him had he received his money yet. "I said no I don't know anything about it," said Cowart.

To get paid, Cowart first needed to send a Facebook friend request. "She said you have to contact this person Thomas S.R. Fields who was supposed to be an agent from the Department of Human Services," said Cowart.

The person told him "your name is on our list to receive $100,000," and if he was ready to claim his money. But before he could get paid, Cowart was told he needed to send $1,200 to cover a filing and shipping fee through UPS.

"The more I talked to him the more I figured out the two people were actually the same person," said Cowart. He said the biggest tip-off was the poor grammar in the messages.

"You go to bank now, instead of you need to go to the bank now," said Cowart. He said he could have used that $100,000 to pay off
his debt and upgrade his music studio.

But now he realizes how close he came to being scammed. "I was almost hooked on it, because I've been praying for a little over 3 1/2 years for a financial miracle breakthrough, and I thought this is it," said Cowart.