Scam artists create fake social media profiles to scam friends, family
(WMC-TV) - Scammers are now preying on the elderly through social media, according to an Action News 5 investigation.
One particular Mid-Southerner was being taken advantage of through Facebook.
A Mid-South great-niece, Claire, who did not want her last name used, got a direct message from her 89-year-old great-aunt asking how she was doing. The message in itself was not unusual.
"She'll post a recipe and, every once in a while, she'll write on my page in all caps," said Claire.
At first, the message seemed pretty normal. However, the next message clued Claire into understanding something was not quite right.
"She (said she) had received a $100,000 grant from the government. Because, the government is giving out money to elderly, retired, and disabled people," stated Claire.
Once Claire knew it was a scam, things began making sense.
Claire believes her great-aunt was targeted because of her age. She is under the impression the scammer stole her cyber identify and created an online hoax.
She explained what she thinks happens.
"(The scammer) copied their Facebook pictures, saved all of them. Made the same profile picture, the same name, the same profile, and then added the same friends that the person has. Then they send out messages to family and friends," said Claire.
Looking back, Claire now remembers getting a second friend request a couple weeks ago from a person she thought was her aunt. Now, she wants other people with elderly friends or family on social media to be aware of this scam and think twice before adding the friend.
To have Action News 5 look into something for you, call the investigator tip line at 866-518-9082.