Imagine a friend messaging you to say you won $50,000 and it is ready to be delivered to your doorstep.
That's exactly what happened to this person on Facebook. The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has concealed their identity for protection.
A friend messaged him saying the money was part of a new government program, and all he had to do was add a particular federal agent as a friend on Facebook, and message the officer saying he was ready to claim his money.
So he did.
The so-called officer said he needed some information first, including his name, address and phone number. At the end of the conversation, the officer said he needed some money too, a shipping fund, of more than $1000.
That's when the victim knew it was fake and reported it to the government.
The West Virginia Attorney General's Office has received several complaints of people who think they have been targeted by impersonators or hackers. Detective Jeremy Burns specializes in cyber security at the Kanawha County Sheriff's Office.
He said sites like Facebook and Twitter are easy access for hackers.
"The best advice I can give is have a good password on your account, that's where it all begins," Burns said.
Try not to be predictable, use more than one word, and try to add numbers too.
"Second, know who is on your friends list, verify who they are," he said.
If you want to meet new people, Detective Burns suggests sticking to reputable dating sites. He suggests you keep you profile private, to avoid getting your account hacked. Finally, follow your gut, if something sounds too good to be true, chances are, it is.
Even if a friend you know personally messages you something you don't think sounds quite right, experts say you should always call them to make sure they haven't been hacked.
You can always report possible incidents of fraud to the West Virginia Attorney General's Office.
That number is 1-800-368-8808.
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