Social Media Scams on Facebook Following Familiar Scenarios
I had just sat down to have my first cup of coffee for the day when my cell phone rang. Normally I'd think twice before answering the phone before office hours, but the caller ID showed it was a close friend. She told me she had heard that Facebook had been hacked, and the hackers were taking over people's accounts.
I told her that what she was describing sounded a lot like what happened to one of my relatives, when I suddenly got a friend request from a cousin with whom I'd been Facebook friends for years. My friend who had called said she would forward the email she'd received so I could check it out. "It might be a good story," she said.
Later in the morning, after I'd taken care of the dogs and elevated my blood-caffeine level into the triple digits, I opened her email. The warning in the forwarded email was clear, "Almost all Facebook accounts are being hacked," the message said. It then went on to explain that hackers were using a Facebook user's photo and profile to create another version of them, and then are using it for nefarious purposes.
I promised my friend that I'd check it out, and I fired off a message to Facebook public relations. Then I started looking for any evidence that my Facebook profile had been hacked. While there are multiple people on Facebook with the same name as me, I know all of them, and none of them are trying to impersonate me.
NEWS ANALYSIS: Although social media can offer new ways to deliver scams and new avenues of approach for scammers, most scams are retreads of the online frauds of yesteryear.
A spokesperson who does security communications at Facebook got back to me: The warning my friend had received was a hoax, and had been making the rounds for a while.