Sunday, September 6, 2009

Facebook being used by Scammers

I read this article and although not directly related to marketing I thought it could be helpful to anyone for two learn how to avoid a new kind of online scam and at the same time it highlights how scammers piggyback international brands.

Jayne Scherrman lost about £2,500 in a Facebook scam after her friend, Grace Parry, had her log-in details stolen. Jayne started receiving requests from her friend Grace stating that she and her husband had been robbed in London and needed money to get back home. Apparently apart from the numerous messages, Jayne received a call from a man with a British accent claiming to be an immigration official. He claimed that her friend Grace and Grace's husband were being detained and that they needed money to fly them home.

Jayne, given that the request came from her friend, sent three different wire transfers to London. Meanwhile the real Grace was trying to get hold of her account back but was very difficult as she was locked out.

In these cases the problem is that people have become too trusting of messages they receive via social networks. It doesn't mean that if you receive a message from you friend it is a genuine message as you friend's account might have been hacked into! Especially when it comes to money request, better try to contact your friend on his mobile and double check the story before actually sending out any money. Even after contacting your friend it would be advisable to contact the embassy in that country to report the incident (if your friend claims to be abroad).

Just a word of advise, it's better to be a bit sceptical in these cases...most probably your friend will understand you :)

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