Beware of Scams, Identity theft and Hi-jacks on FaceBook and Gmail - Twitter Saves The Day!
This morning I got an email from Fred Carver, an AR member I know well. It came via Fred's gmail account.
Not 5 minutes later, I get a pop-up chat message on Facebook from Fred, the discussion went like this:
7:03am Fred says
Hi, how are you?
7:04am Brad says
just got an email from you...
Sorry i didn't inform you about our traveling, we presently in London UK stranded.Got Mugged last night at a gun point all cash, credit card,cell phone and valuable things where stolen away from us during the Robbery I will like you to assist us with a soft loan urgently with the sum of $1500.we need to sort out the hotel bills and get ourselves back home. we will appreciate whatever you can afford, i promise to pay back as soon as i return, Please let me know if you can help.
(it already seems fishy to me from the grammar, punctuation, not to mention if this really happened, why is he on Facebook? Hmmm.... Wouldn't he be at the police department and contacting his closest family and friends for help VIA A TELEPHONE?)
7:04am Fred says
It was a very brutal experience
Thank God i still have my life and passport
7:05am Fred says
Need your financial assistance
7:05am Brad says
how much have you raised?
7:06am Fred says
All i need right now is $1,500
(Having a gut feeling that this wasn't really Fred, and thinking that his Profile on FaceBook and Gmail had been hijacked by a scammer, it dawned on me that his identity might have been stolen, so this was my next response to try and fish out if this really was him)
7:10am Brad says
Good luck my friend, wish I could help you! I just got ripped by the government in property taxes, I have 3 kids and a wife that have no income, an overdue house payment, and a car that's out of gas and I'm trying to figure out a way to get to the airport. If that weren't enough, we have some person that wants to sue us for $60,000 dollars from a car accident and our deductible is exactly $1500.00 dollars, the exact amount you need too. Go figure... I just don't have the nerve or guts to ask anyone for it like you. You're a better man than I. I hope everything works out for you my friend and yes, it's great you have your life and your passport.
(I know Fred all too well, and I knew the fake response above would flush him out if it wasn't really him. At this point, I'm wondering who this really is and how they hacked into his Gmail email and his Facebook account?)
7:10am Fred says
Ok..thanks for your concern
7:11am Brad says
hey, how come you're not answering your phone???
7:11am Fred says
My phone was stolen
I told you earlier
(This is not the way the real Fred would have responded)
7:28am Brad tries to say....
Where should folks send you money?
FaceBook Chat responds: Fred is no longer online. The following was not sent:
(So I head over to Fred's AR profile, check the date and content on his last Blog post to see if he's headed out of town, and the twitter feed on his sidebar confirms that my instincts were correct, and this in fact was just a scam and a hijacking of his identity)
Fred's Twitter Updates
- Off to do a Building inspection today from my Townhouse sale this week :O)) about 23 hours ago
The lesson here friends is that we are all targets for scammers and no one is really protected against this type of thing. I'm not sure how this happened to Fred. I have contacted him to let him know, but keep your eyes and ears open at all times. Be aware that these types of things are happening out there in the social media sphere and even with peoples email. Guard your information always and protect passwords by changing them from time to time.
It's not about just being street smart anymore, it's about being Internet smart these days too.
Had I discovered this really was Fred, and he really was in trouble, of course I'd be doing all I could to help him out. How many others have been contacted in Fred's Gmail address book and from his Facebook account? Have others possibly fallen for this scam and sent money to an address in the UK? Hopefully not, but if you're a friend of Fred's or in his address book, then chances are, this post comes as no surprise to you this morning.
Keep your instincts sharp and in check, and Beware of Scams and Hi-Jacks on FaceBook and Gmail. I look forward to Fred's response to this post so we can get to the bottom of this and get... the rest of the story....