It is common sense not to trust anyone asking for money online or over the phone, but a Palm Desert resident was completely surprised when a hacker tried to use her friend’s Facebook account to try to scam her out of money.
Marilyn Baker is a retired flight attendant and she was caught off guard when a person posed as one of her Facebook friends and tried to get her to pay money to qualify for a national grant.
Baker said, “I was so thinking it was real because it was my friend, a friend that I trusted, I thought Karen would never lead me astray.”
It was not her friend Karen on the other end, however, the person used information Baker had shared online to try to trick her through text messages.
They knew she was one of the many United Airline employees who lost their pensions to the company’s bankruptcy protection filing.
They told her a new United Nations grant could help people in her situation, but first, they asked her to wire $1,500 in processing fees. She did not do it.
“This agent texted me back and said good morning this is Pauline Rowland the 2019 development programmed,” Baker said. “To me in mind, I’m thinking somebody has finally come through and it was not.”
Facebook shows an increase in abusive accounts this year, the site disabled 2.2 billion fake accounts between January and March.
The company has also set-up a reporting page in its ‘Help Center’ to notify it of active accounts that were possibly hacked.
Baker did not share sensitive information or money to the person posing as her friend, but she worries she was not the only target.
Baker said, “This is really stupid that I got hooked into this so I just don’t want anybody else to go there I mean anyone else I’ve talked to whenever there’s money involved which is when it got to that part I said, it’s a scam.”
Facebook faces privacy issues itself, the company just agreed to a $5 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over the handling of its user information, U.S. Senators are also questioning children’s privacy protections on Facebook Messenger Kids.