Facebook Phonies

Friday, January 30, 2009 - 6:56pm

There’s a new trend in internet identity theft targeting a popular social networking site. It’s happening on Facebook, users say they’re finding out the hard way the site has been flooded with several scams. As NBC 33’s Kianga Kelley reports, one Southern University student knows about this scam all too well.

Lauren Fisher is a junior at Southern University and like many others, she enjoys going on Facebook. But recently, she says she’s been receiving odd messages from people she thought were her friends. “I look and see all these messages from my friends talking about; you know you’re on smashdriver.com or hotrod.com. I’m like what are these websites?”

When she checked the websites, her computer was immediately flooded with popup ads and eventually ended up with several viruses. Fisher later found out someone had hacked into several of her friends’ Facebook pages. “For somebody to go and impersonate one of my friends, that’s not good.”

Fisher is one of millions Facebook users to be victimized by these types of scams. In Seattle, one man had several messages sent to his friends, claiming he had been robbed at gunpoint while visiting Europe and needed money to get home. It turned out he was the victim of f a new, targeted version of a very old scam, the “Nigerian,” or “419,” ploy.

Ironically Fisher says she almost fell for the exact same scam, but eventually had a feeling it was a bad idea.

So far, Facebook has attempted to protect vulnerable users by sending out alerts whenever a new scam is discovered and offers advice or links to free virus scanners. Even the Better Business Bureau has chimed in on the warning signs, offering video advice.

“Be care what you do especially on public computers do stuff on the privacy of your own computer because they will always be out there for somebody to get.”

To learn more about Facebook scams, click here