MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Scheme artists pose as everything. Government government officials to your cell phone provider. Now they are pretending to be an old friend on social media.
It starts with a Facebook friend request from someone you know. It happened to Michael Hanson. He said a got friend request from a high school friend. The 'friend' messaged him asking if he collected his stimulus money yet - about $70,000 worth of it.
The ‘friend’ claimed he saw Michael’s name on a list and got money too.
“And so I went oh really,” said Hansen.
Michael texted the number his friend suggested. The person said he would get his $70,000 government check if he sent $850 for the delivery charge.
“That was a red flag,” said Hansen.
At about the same time, Michael's friend messaged him saying he too sent that money and then Michael’s phone rang.
The caller claimed to be from Facebook and said he could help Michael. Michael just had to give the caller remote access to his computer.
He knew that meant his computer could be hacked, or malware could get installed. So Michael said no.
“And they’re just getting desperate,” said Danielle Spang with the Better Business Bureau.
The bureau said most people know that schemers are cloning Facebook pages, stealing people’s photos then targeting that person’s Facebook family and friends list.
It’s forcing con artists to get more creative hitting targets from several directions.
“You should never pay money to receive money,” said Spang.
Michael now knows that and he's glad he didn’t fall for this scheme.
To avoid being contacted by a scammer like this, experts suggest changing your security setting on Facebook so strangers cannot see your pictures, profile or friends list.
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