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Police are warning Facebook users to be cautious after a Hastings woman was scammed out of more than $500.
Internet users should beware of offers telling them they have won substantial amounts of money in return for providing a handling fee, Senior Sergeant Luke Shadbolt of Hastings police said.
"Don't be tempted by offers of easy money, the simple fact is that if it sounds too good to be true; it probably is".
The 55-year-old woman had responded to messages on her Facebook page telling her she had won $50,000 in a Facebook sweepstake.
She paid $544 into a Western Union bank account expecting to receive money in return.
However, she only received requests for more money, Mr Shadbolt said.
The scams were international, often originating in Africa or Asia, and used untraceable internet accounts. Money sent via Western Union could be accessed worldwide, he said.
The individuals responsible were rarely identified.