Facebook is the most popular social network on the planet, and people of high repute also use it. One such person is Sen. Claire McCaskill, who has busted several consumer scams and is proud of her crusades in the senate. However, this Missouri Democrat also became a victim of a Facebook scam that surprised not just her but her staff as well, says USA Today.
Facebook scam using a senator’s name
The problem was identified in mid-June when a woman called McCaskill’s office complaining that the senator promised her grant funds but had not sent them to her yet. Apparently there were two payments worth $250 each that the woman had wired in response to a Facebook solicitation that she believed was from McCaskill, noted USA Today.
It included an official-looking photo of McCaskill and a vague pitch for grant money that made it look real. Hence, the woman fell into the trap, sent the money and waited, but to no avail. Until now, only one victim of the fraudulent McCaskill money pitch has been identified, according to a spokesperson for McCaskill. However, the senator said she wanted to draw attention to the issue so that people could be on guard.
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“Facebook and Twitter are terrific ways for Missourians to talk directly with me, but folks should be sure it’s really me they’re talking with. I want to get the word out about this one while we work with law enforcement to identify and bring to justice those responsible,” she said in a statement.
Fake accounts using McCaskill’s image and name traced
Facebook and other social media tools are effective modes of communication, and like other lawmakers, McCaskill’s staff also uses them regularly. They use social networks to identify Missourians in need of help with some federal issue, and this got them concerned that someone would have used those tools to prey on McCaskill’s supporters.
Several fake Facebook accounts that used McCaskill’s image and name were discovered by her staff, who then immediately alerted the U.S. Capitol Police, the FBI and Facebook, said USA Today.
A Facebook official told USA Today that McCaskill’s office contacted the company to report the fake accounts. As of now, there have been no comments from the FBI or the U.S. Capitol Police on the investigation. Online scams are on the rise as it is quite easy for anonymous predators to send deceptive emails posing as users’ Facebook friends.
Photo by stevendepolo