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Scammers impersonate trusted loved ones on social media

December 13, 2018 05:06 AM

Families and Facebook users beware - scammers are at it again and they're getting craftier. 

Scammers are impersonating people you know and trust to trick you into handing over money. 

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This happened to a local woman shares her story with News10NBC.

"They put the fear in me that something may be wrong with my friend," said Kim Vokulich of Webster.

At 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Vokulich got a message from who she thought was her old neighbor who "asked me how I was," she told News10NBC.  

Vokulich says she was suspicious from the beginning because the two had never spoken that late before.

She was right to be suspicious. The conversation quickly took an odd turn. 

"She was like 'can you help me?' and I was like 'are you ok? Do you need me to call someone?' She said 'no don't call anyone' she then said 'I need food,'" explained Vokulich.

The person then asked for her to buy them a $100 iTunes gift card. They changed the story saying they needed it for a government grant. 

Vokulich ignored the messages realizing it was a scam and says they then tried calling her through Facebook Messenger's call feature. 

A quick search in her Facebook Messenger revealed two completely identical profiles with the exact same name and exact same default.

The only difference was that one profile in the conversation says it was logged in from Nigeria.  

"They're getting crafty," said Vokulich. "It's sad what this world is coming to."

The Better Business Bureau says con artists "hack an account or create a separate lookalike profile by stealing photos and personal information." The scammers then target friends of whoever they impersonate and try to trick trusting victims into giving money or revealing sensitive information. 

The BBB says the only way to protect yourself is to know your friends and family on social media and report anything suspicious.

Facebook is also currently testing a new feature for Messenger to identify and fight these scam accounts and shut them down. 

Credits

Beth Cefalu

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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