Hot on HuffPost Tech:

See More Stories
AOL Tech

Woman Loses $4K to Scammer Posing as Friend on Facebook

Missouri Woman Loses $4,000 to Scammer Posing as Friend on FacebookJayne Scherrman, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri, was the unfortunate victim of a scam that turned her compassion and trust into a $4,000 profit, the AP reports. A still unknown crook hacked the Facebook account of Jayne's friend Grace Parry and began to send Jayne messages, purporting to be Grace and claiming that she and her husband had been detained in London and were in need of money.

Jayne figured if the couple could reach her only by Facebook, then they were in dire straits, indeed, and quickly wired $600 as per the scammer's instructions. As is common in these kinds of schemes, subsequent messages were sent requesting additional funds. In this case, the huckster blamed the exchange rate when explaining the discrepancy between the funds needed and the amount initially requested.


All in all, Jayne eventually sent $4,000 via Western Union to the impostor before realizing that she had fallen victim to a scam. On August 26th, she alerted the authorities.

We've seen this tactic before and there are keys to avoiding a snakey scammers:
  • First and foremost, never wire any money without speaking directly (on the phone, not via e-mail or Facebook) to any friend who requests your help financially.
  • If you believe there is a plausible reason this friend cannot reach you by phone, don't be afraid to ask them to confirm their identity. Ask questions that only they would be able to answer. Don't ask about birthdays or hometowns, facts that could be readily ascertainable online, but instead about where the two of you first met, first boyfriends, or high school mascots.
  • If you know or suspect a friend's account has been hacked, try to alert that person directly. Then, warn all of your mutual friends, and finally contact the site's administrators regarding your suspicions. Both your friend and shared pals will be thankful.
Follow these basic guidelines, resist your immediate urge to blindly offer help, and you'll avoid falling victim to the widespread 419 scams that have taken a more personal twist when crooks ditched their Nigerian princess roots. [From: AP/AOLNews]
http://xml.channel.aol.com/xmlpublisher/fetch.v2.xml?option=expand_relative_urls&dataUrlNodes=uiConfig,feedConfig,entry&id=486703&pid=486702&uts=1252368008
http://cdn.channel.aol.com/cs_feed_v1_6/csfeedwrapper.swf
Top Eight Online Hoaxes
Photoshopping Dupes America
In 2000, a photo of a giant cat named Snowball was forwarded around the Internet and posted on many Web sites. The accompanying story was that a man had an 87-pound cat that was born to a mother that lived near a nuclear lab. The story spread so far that it was discussed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Good Morning America. Unfortunately, it was just computer-manipulated image made by Cordell Hauglie, the man in the picture, yet people still haven't realized that you can't believe everything you see on the Web.

Top 8 Online Hoaxes

    Everything Must Go

    A farmer's house was cleaned out out after Craigslist ads said that all his possessions were being offered up for free. The man lost thousands of dollars worth of his stuff, and, unfortunately, this isn't the only incident of its kind. Last year, a woman's niece posted a similar ad, which led to people stripping everything from the aunt's empty apartment, including light fixtures. And recently, someone tried the same thing on a Massachusetts family, but they happened to be home when the gatherers arrived.

    Photoshopping Dupes America
    In 2000, a photo of a giant cat named Snowball was forwarded around the Internet and posted on many Web sites. The accompanying story was that a man had an 87-pound cat that was born to a mother that lived near a nuclear lab. The story spread so far that it was discussed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Good Morning America. Unfortunately, it was just computer-manipulated image made by Cordell Hauglie, the man in the picture, yet people still haven't realized that you can't believe everything you see on the Web.

    Stick To Match.com, People!

    Getting sexy messages from somebody you don't know should set off some warning bells, but apparently there will always be people, mostly men, who believe they're about to score big. There are loads of tales like this, including a man who showed up naked at a house in New Zealand after misleading text messages and a Saudi Arabian who was robbed by teenagers when he showed up for a good time. Seriously, if it's too good to be true, it probably is.

    Still Too Good to Be True

    What's better than meeting someone online for love? Getting paid to do it, which is how an Australian farmer found himself kidnapped in . Several men pretended to be a woman, enticing Des Gregor, 53, to come to to get married and receive $85,000 in gold as dowry. When he got there, he was taken hostage and threatened with having his limbs hacked off unless he paid them the same amount. Fortunately, police duped the kidnappers and Gregor was safe. Gregor learned his lesson, apparently – "Just be careful - make sure you check everything out 100 per cent," he said.

    Watch Out For Those Cameras

    With the amount of people embarrassed or worse by leaked photos and videos of bad behavior online, it's no wonder that they'd be used for blackmail. This is exactly what happened to a 75-year-old Amish widower after he slept with a prostitute. The woman and her boyfriend extorted $67,000 from the man, saying there was a camera installed in his bedroom and that photos of the trysts would go online. Fortunately, the pair and two accomplices were arrested. So much for the Amish being behind in technology.

    High Salary, Low Discretion

    Seeing a job posting that promises thousands of dollars for at-home work will most likely get a lot of applicants and a lot of non-believers. Still, almost 80 people, including lawyers, were allegedly hired to work for a financial company doing research and all sorts of projects for $14,000 a month. They had conference calls, corporate e-mail addresses, contracts, and direct deposit forms, but after they didn't get paid for a few weeks, they realized it was all fake. There was no such company, the owner disappeared, and nobody knows what happened. So beware – if that job listing sounds amazing, do your research before you end up duped.

    Scamming the Scammers

    You've probably heard about or even received an e-mail about getting funds from or another African country if you send them a small sum. This is called 419 fraud, and rather than sit idly by, Michael Berry founded 419eater.com as a way to get revenge. The site encouraged people to bait the scammers, often to get the Nigerians to take pictures holding up offensive signs in English. Some users were successful in getting cash sent to them, although this was discouraged. Either way, it's good to know that anyone can be had, even the perpetrators.

    Times Gets Owned in Joke Article

    The phenomenon of Rickrolling has become so popular that even the New York Times covered it. Unfortunately for that respected paper, the coverage of the story found it getting getting duped by a Youtube video made by a student at Eastern Washington University . The article talked about a video that showed the student interrupting a timeout at a women's basketball game and somehow playing the song over the PA system. Unfortunately, this never happened and the video was a fake. So, an article on a prank ends up getting pranked too. Is there no end to this madness?

Tags: 419 scam, 419Scam, facebook, scam, security, top

Comments

94

Add your comments

Please keep your comments relevant to this blog entry. Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments.

When you enter your name and email address, you'll be sent a link to confirm your comment, and a password. To leave another comment, just use that password.

To create a live link, simply type the URL (including http://) or email address and we will make it a live link for you. You can put up to 3 URLs in your comments. Line breaks and paragraphs are automatically converted — no need to use <p> or <br /> tags.