Is your Facebook friend really a friend? - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Is your Facebook friend really a friend?

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) – A new scam proves it's not even safe to trust your friends on Facebook, at least people posing as your friends.

The latest scam is using news events to prey on victims though their own friend chat list. If you're not careful, it could cost you big.

If you've got a Facebook page, you've likely chatted with a friend when you're logged on, but hackers maybe targeting those friends to get at you and your wallet. If you think that only happens if your not safe, it happened to someone in our newsroom.

When a Facebook chat window opened, one of our reporters believed she was chatting with one of her friends. The friend said he was stranded in London because of volcanic ash and needed money to get home. Our co-worker was immediately suspicious.

"People are not on guard enough and they should be," said Dougherty County Sheriff's Capt. Craig Dodd.

Even though the request comes from someone you believe to be a friend, the friends' account was hacked.

"Most of the time people don't ask for money over the Internet, so a friend sending you something like that is kind of suspicious," said Darton College Student Antoine Cooper.

"It definitely would depend on how well I knew the person. If they were really in trouble, I'd say well call me an we'd meet up somewhere," said Darton College Student Colton Glover.

"They're all very simple but ingenious scams they're pulling and this is just another reason to be extremely careful when you're putting anything on Facebook," said Dodd.

What's different about this scam is it seems to be coming from someone you've allowed access that why investigators say you need to do a little investigating of your own.

"If you're suspicious ask them something that only the two of you would know," said Dodd.

Or follow up by calling another friend. Many Facebook users say they've learned the hard way to guard their information.

"I got a phone call from one of my uncles one day that lives out of town and I didn't know how he got my number and I went on there and saw that my phone number was on there and so I went there and deleted all my stuff like that because I didn't want somebody random getting it," said Colton.

Because you never know when a friend information or your own has been compromised.

If this scam has happened to you, Facebook wants to know about it, so they can attempted to figure out where the information has been compromised.

If you think your Facebook account has been hacked you should change your password immediately. You should also warn your friends not to click suspicious links your account may have sent, and contact Facebook to report the attack.

  • The "London scam"


Once a scammer has access to a trusted friend's Facebook account, one of the most common ways to manipulate others for financial gain is through the London scam, or similar means.

Often through Facebook chat, the scammer, posing as one of your friends, will explain that he or she is stranded on a trip to London after a robbery, leaving him or her with no way to get home. Then you'll be asked to wire money to get your friend home.

Make sure you verify the identity of a friend with this kind of request before you oblige.

To report this kind of scam to Facebook, visit: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact.php?show_form=419_scam

 

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