NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) — Newton police are warning of a novel new social media scam that relies on your urge to share a post with others to spread.

The department says the post first appeared on a Harvey County Facebook community group as a plea involving a lost or found pet, a missing person, or an escaped criminal, asking users to share as much as possible. The details are usually vague, and comments are turned off for the post.

Later, the author of the post changes it to links to either a financial scam or Malware that can hijack your computer. That leads to multiple users inadvertently participating in the scam because they shared the post.

To avoid being tricked, pay close attention before you share a link.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • Is it vague in details?
  • Is there spelling or grammatical errors that seem odd?
  • Did they refer to the area by an odd or incorrect name?
  • Local law enforcement or news media not involved?
  • Is the original poster’s profile nearly blank and doesn’t appear to be local?

You can report the post directly to Facebook, but also report it to the Facebook group’s administrator so they can block the account. It’s another reminder of why it’s a good idea to think before you share.