Woman Loses Hundreds Of Dollars Through Facebook Scammer - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Woman Loses Hundreds Of Dollars Through Facebook Scammer

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A Central Ohio woman lost hundreds of dollars to what she thought was her lucky day.

The Ashville woman said she was contacted on Facebook by someone who she thought was a family member.

"She saw her name as a prize winner. It was the lottery, [and the message] gave her the steps she needed to claim her prize," said Joan Coughlin of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio.

The victim is a cancer survivor on a fixed income. With rent and utilities due, she was excited and responded.

After several messages back and forth, a third party entered the conversation, reinforcing her lottery winnings.

The third party told the victim she needed to pay a fee up front to claim her prize.

According to the BBB, the victim wrote that she was a little scared, but the scammer responded to her to pay the money and they would send her the prize within 24 hours.

She gave in and sent the money, but then, the scammer asked for more.

The BBB said the victim wrote to the scammer, "Please, I'm 60 years old. I don't have $200 more to send. I trusted you."

Now, the victim has no money to pay her rent or utilities.

Experts said that even though social media is fun and exciting, it can be a dangerous playground for criminals.

The BBB is working with the victim to try to help with her expenses and services.

9 tips for recovering from Facebook scams and hacks:

Change Your Password -If you fell victim to a phishing scheme or another hack attack, it's likely that someone else has obtained your password and is using it to access your account. You'll need to change your login credentials ASAP. Visit Facebook's Account Settings to do this. Remember, don't reuse passwords on different accounts and the more complex the password, the safer you'll be.

Secure Your Account -If you believe someone has gained access to your Facebook profile and is posting unauthorized content in your name, Facebook's Roadblock tool can help verify your identity and secure your account against the spammer

Enable Log in Approvals - One of Facebook's new security features will implement a two-step login process the first time your account is accessed from an unfamiliar device. If you enable this feature, Facebook will send a verification text to your mobile device before allowing access from the new location.

Clean Out Your Apps -When you approve a normal app, you "allow" the app access to your profile, trusting that the developers will post only updates about your in-app activities. However, spammers will use this open door to take over your profile. If you fell for a rogue app and mistakenly clicked "Allow," or if you notice excessive activity on your account, you should edit your list of apps and remove any suspicious ones.

Delete Spam Messages and Alerts -As soon as you can, delete spam posts from your wall and Facebook inbox. The fewer there are, the less likely you or your friends will be to click on them.

Edit Your Interests - If you were tricked into "Liking" a scam, you'll need to edit your interests on your profile and remove any links to spam sites you may have acquired.

Notify Facebook - If you suspect your account has been compromised, you can alert Facebook through several channels. To report privacy breaches, you can direct reports to privacy@facebook.com. If a scammer gained access to your account password via phishing attack, you can fill out Facebook's phishing report. Facebook also provides a separate form for reporting a malicious link or website.

Scan Your Computer for Malware- Facebook recommends that you scan your computer hard drive for malicious software that could potentially tap into your profile again. If you don't have an antivirus app, Facebook suggests using a free trial of McAfee.

Immediately End the Facebook Session
- If you've entered a line of malicious code into your browser and believe that someone has taken control of your profile and is in the process of spamming your friends, log out of Facebook to stop the attack. One of Facebook's new security features may also notify you of suspicious activity on your account, such as excessive "Likes" or posts.

BBB Offers advice for Staying safe on social networking sites:

  1. If a "friend" or "family" member is asking you to wire money,  users should attempt to contact their friend outside of the social networking site to confirm the situation.
  2. Users should always make sure their computer's operating system and antivirus and firewall software are up to date.
  3. Keep private information private
  4. Consider it a red flag if you are asked to pay anything to receive your winnings  - You should never ever pay anything if you win a "prize"
  5. Be selective when choosing friends

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