A few days ago, I was working on my computer and only had Facebook open in the background when I suddenly heard the sound of my instant chat window pop up (you know that sound). When I opened the window, I was pleased to see someone whom I hadn’t spoken to for a long time. I personally knew this person from my networking and had spoken a number of times to this person by phone, but we had never met in person. When I asked how he had been, he replied to me, “Not good”, and proceeded to tell me that he had just been held up at gunpoint, mugged, and had all of his cash, wallet, and cell phone stolen. “That’s terrible”, I replied. He said he needed money to settle his hotel bill and promised to pay me back tomorrow, saying his flight back to the US was leaving soon and he had to settle the bill. Immediately, my “B.S. detector” went off. While I did know this person, I am certainly not the first person he would have asked for money. I asked a few more questions and determined that someone had hijacked my friend’s Facebook account and was posing as him. I knew this person well enough to know it wasn’t him. I tried to call my friend to see if he was ok but unfortunately I couldn’t reach him. This guy was good though. When I asked him for a phone number to call him, he gave me a number, saying it was for the hotel in Kentish Town. I Googled the name and location and got a hit that this was indeed a scam. While I watched, the person actually changed my friend’s email address in his Facebook profile. The guy posing as my friend tried to get me to wire $800 bucks to a Western Union account. I was astonished that this person was actually so bold. Stalling for time, I actually called the FBI while the person was online and reported the person.
Watch out on Facebook if anything like this happens to you. Happy surfing and keep safe.