FACEBOOK USERS: READ. NOW.

facebook-fail

URGENT: I’ve been robbed and need help.

Imagine logging into Facebook and seeing a friend’s status message set to the above. What would you do?

Joaquin Grech saw his friend’s status message set to an urgent cry for help and immediately logged on to Facebook chat to ask: “What can I do to help?” The “friend” told him how she was robbed at the airport, needed to get back home, and asked him to wire her $600 to a certain address.

Luckily, Joaquin decided to ask questions confirming her identity before transferring the funds. When the “friend” couldn’t answer his questions, he knew her account was hacked and commented on her status message: “XXX’s account was hacked. Don’t send money.”

The hacker, deleted him from the account to prevent him from warning more people. At this time, he and I have no idea if people fell for it or if the scam artist received money. But the fact remains: her account was hacked and people may have been scammed.

The problem with Facebook is this:

Only after I Googled, revealed this phishing scam is old news. TechCrunch covered it on the 20th and WSF (Wall Street Journal) covered it yesterday.

Facebook knew of this scam for over three full business days. Why haven’t we been notified by Facebook?
How many people need to be scammed before Facebook finally notifies us? Well we’ll soon find out — on the six o’clock news. Unacceptable.

21 thoughts on “FACEBOOK USERS: READ. NOW.

  1. Because unlike Myspace, Facebook doesnt care about its users LOL. No really Facebook co-founder was with Obama Transitional Team they got Obama elected give them a break……it’s just sad how peopole love this network so much but it just keeps on fing them over. Love Web 2.0 dont you?

  2. A friends Facebook account was hacked recently after he fell victim to a phishing scam purporting to be FB and saying they had received complaints about him so ‘click here’ and the rest is history.

    He was also the sole leader of an active group a bunch of us belong to and despite a large number of us complaining, Facebook took WEEKS to address the issue. They really do come across as either laissez faire or completely overwhelmed with many of these scams.

  3. Sally – that is so unfortunate. I hope everything worked out ok and something should be done about at least notifying the users. So unacceptable.

    I hope everything worked out with your friend. :(

  4. Am a Facebook user too, but I do think one has to be guard on his / her own. I too had similar problem. Some hacker hacked my email account on Gmail and started sending emails to all my friends and contacts telling each of them a similar story (it said from ma behalf that on ma biz trip in Nigeria I had been robbed and was penny less in a foreign land) on ma behalf and begged for help. Fortunately the friends who were eager to help me just rang me up for a confirmation and I told them how my account was hacked and is being misused so plz ignore such fake messages.

    Nayyar Hashmey
    http://wondersofpakistan.blogspot.com/

  5. I’m not mad because people who may fall victim to this have no business being within 10 feet of a computer. How dumb would you have to be to WIRE MONEY to a friend if your only use of communication was FACEBOOK!

    I don’t see why anything has to be done. If people actually wire money because of this, props to the scam artist! I’d like to shake his or her hand and say, “Great Job!”

    1. I respect your opinion, but not everybody is as savvy as you – and even if phishing scams have been around for years, it’s least expected on Facebook. I would’ve fallen for it. Facebook’s security should’ve at least put some sort of warning on the chat system, since their (FB) number one selling point is: “Real names, real people.”

      Why wouldn’t you want to help out a friend?

  6. I wouldn’t have fallen for this. If I had a friend close enough that I was willing to wire $600, I would have their cell number. Likewise, if I had been robbed, I wouldn’t put out a public announcement on Facebook! I would call someone close to me and ask for help.

    If there really are folks out there not savvy enough to question this, they had better get less gullible fast, for their own good.

    1. I have to agree with you, Blackheartgirlie. If they don’t know the person well enough to have more than Facebook as a contact point, they shouldn’t be sending them money. At least not without doing some major investigating first. They are just asking for it.

      I feel if a person is going to use the Internet, they should read up on it and learn how to stay safe. A person almost needs to live in a cave not to know how unsafe the Internet can be.

      Just my opinion.

  7. Well, since I’m on the post, I’ll share my opinion.
    First, I don’t think fb should notify every user but it would definitely be nice if they added some kind of new warning at login.
    The best thing to do is what microsoft does on messenger. They should just add a new message to the fb chat that as soon as you open it, it should remind you that she/he might not be the real person and be wary of sharing personal and financial information. It sounds silly, but by adding that simple warning your brain is already predisposed to think that way.

    At the beginning you don’t think your friend is not who she is supposed to be. The person using her account has access to all her private information, meaning: parents names, phone numbers, private pics, trips, your own tags, comments and so on. They can and do use this as: remember in our trip here and there when I helped you? I can’t reach my parents, they are on a trip to X place. (they got all that info from that person’s fb)

    If you are not completely awake, your first reaction is not to think that you are been scammed, your first reaction is: crap, my friend needs help, what can i do to help?
    So yeah, if they ask for $600, it’s a warning, but if they ask for $50… you wouldn’t think so much.

    In my case, what came as an obvious warning was the way she typed. It didn’t match her style. At that moment I started to be wary about the whole thing, I asked questions that she was replying correctly (with all her fb data) so I had to really think something completely outside of fb. Like, how did we meet?
    That’s where she just started blah blah and it became clear, but who knows how many people has been fooled. I’m sure a lot, since otherwise they wouldn’t be doing this.

  8. I don’t understand, every time someone’s account gets hacked because they got phished or whatever, you want Facebook to send an e-mail to everyone alerting them to the scam? How about…don’t be stupid. Use some common sense.

    1. How about this is the second time in the last week major phishing scams are going on? And how about Facebook’s tagline “Real people”, encouraging everyone and their grandmothers to sign up. If YOU’RE so smart, why don’t you teach common sense to the ‘stupid’

      How about GTF outta here with your mighty than thou attitude.
      BTW AllFacebook just published a piece questioning Facebook. Read it here.

  9. I had a 45 minute discussion with a scammer, and I have to say, even though I knew 90% it was a scam, I still felt compelled to find out just in case it was true.

    This happened to me on the 18th January (or three days before the big American blogs – so that’s a whole six days Facebook was aware). I’ve had several media outlets contact me for further information so this has been in the news all over.

    Best thing to do is create awareness, and teach some lessons like never send money unless it’s through western union (passport used to validate identity). And that if someone has their credit card stolen, question them why they haven’t got emergency cash out yet.

    You can read what happened here:

    http://liako.biz/2009/01/phishing-for-fraud-on-facebook/

    1. This particular scam originated from England and Australia, I believe. It seems stupid to fall for something like this, but it’s Facebook – a place we all expect it to happen least.

      Thanks for the link and raising awareness, going to read now. :)

  10. Elias, I was actually asked to send money through Western Union.
    Depending on the countries you can skip the passport verification, obviously these guys were skipping it somehow because they gave me the whole western union data to transfer the money to and they were using my friend’s name on it.

    I’m not sure how they are able to skip the verification process but they are. So just don’t send money, even if it’s through western union.

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