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Faux Facebook 'friend' takes US woman for $4,000

Crooks impersonate UK Immigration

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A US woman has been stung for $4,000 via a fraudulent Facebook "friend in peril" scam.

Jayne Scherrman, a paediatric dentist from Cape Girardeau, Missouri, wired the money via Western Union to her friend Grace Parry in response to requests for help via Facebook. The messages claimed that Grace and her husband had lost everything after being robbed while on holiday in London, and requested $600 in order to resolve their difficulties.

In reality, Grace's profile was hijacked by fraudsters. Grace was locked out of her account and unable to warn her online contacts. Her husband posted a warning about the scam, the Press Association adds.

Unaware of all this, Scherrman sent her "friend" money via a virtually untraceable wire transfer that actually ended up in the pockets of fraudsters.

The crooks decided to bilk the unfortunate Scherrman still further by calling her while posing as UK immigration officials and falsely claiming her friends were in detention and needed money to secure their release.

Scherrman sent a total of $4,000 to fraudsters in three separate wire transfers. There's little hope of recovering the fraudulently obtained funds from crooks, who might be located almost anywhere.

An interview between Scherrman and US media outlet Hearland News can be found here.

More on the scam - and how to sidestep this kind of fraud - can be found in a blog entry by Sophos's Graham Cluley here. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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