Online Scams Can Happen to Anyone

I was at lunch yesterday when I heard the distinctive “pop” that meant someone had messaged me on Facebook.  So I flipped screens to check in with whoever wanted to chat.  Hmmm… a Manatee Chamber member with whom I never really speak.

Member:  “carey, how are you doing?”

Me:  “Peachy, thanks!  Yourself?”

Member:  “i am not fine  i need an urgent help from you”

Me:  “What can I can help with?”

Member:  “i need you to loan me some cash  i promise to refund it back to you  i am stuck in London  i was mugged last night at gunpoint”

Me:  “Sure you were.”

And suddenly they were no longer interested in speaking with me.  They knew I was on to them and were moving to the next person in an attempt to get some money.

I called the member and sent her an email so she’d know about the problem.  She’s working on the issue from her end, but it’s not going to be easy.  The moment the scammer got hold of her account, he / she changed the password and locked the actual person out.  This gives him free reign until Facebook responds to her request and helps fix the situation.  I’m not sure if they change the password and give access back to her OR if they simply cancel that account and she has to start a new one.

Either way, it always pays to be vigilant when it comes to online dealings.  Never be tricked into providing your information or into giving someone money from an online post.

I’ll take it a step further.  Never click on a shortened URL from a site.   I know, I said never.  But what if it’s someone you trust?  Well, what if their account has been hacked as the member above was?  There’s a great new service out that will reveal the real destination for shortened URLs (bit.ly, tiny.cc, is.gd, ow.ly, etc.)  You can download it or go directly to http://www.untiny.me and copy / paste the URL in the box.

Safety first, I say!  If you have any questions about the above post, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I would be happy to help you to the best of my ability.

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