Facebook Scam resurfaces in NKY
edited: Friday, July 01, 2011
By Timothy Sawyer
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Posted: Friday, July 01, 2011
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My first article for Examiner.com
A Northern Kentucky resident has fallen victim to a scam that is attributed to the Facebook social networking site. According to a recent article, the so-called ‘grandparent scam’ that is targeted toward senior citizens is resurging, and has so far bilked people out of around $40,0001.
The way that the scam works is that the ‘scammer’ searches through social networking sites for potential targets. Depending on the amount of information that is publicly available, the scammer then will obtain the names of the family members of their targets. Once that information is obtained, the ‘scammer’ will then either call the target or somehow contact the target, claiming that they are a family member in need of cash for some emergency, and will ask the target to wire them money. An example of this is a Fort Mitchell woman who was bilked out of $4,800 after being contacted by someone claiming to be her grandson who had apparently been in an accident in Mexico2.
Facebook is a very widely used and popular social networking site. With the right amount of vigilance, most of these scams can be avoided by following some basic rules:
Only accept “Friend” requests from people that you know or that you can verify through other friends
Security settings on Facebook can be set to only allow certain people or friends to see personal information. These settings can be controlled by doing the following:
Click “Account” in the upper right hand corner
Click “Privacy Settings”
Review the current settings. Those settings with “Everyone” selected should be changed to “Friends Only” (recommended) or “Friends of Friends”. These settings control who can view personal information.
Be very careful with Facebook applications and links that are posted. Some of these applications and links can compromise an account.
The Kentucky Attorney General’s office has a hotline for consumers to report fraud. The Consumer Protection Hotline is 888-432-9257 and also on the web at http://ag.ky.gov/civil/consumerprotection