Faux Facebook 'friend' takes US woman for $4,000
Crooks impersonate UK Immigration
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. ®
Stranded in London...
Yes, it's the middle of nowhere, there's no US embassy you can go to for assistance, all you can do is use facebook (via some medium unknown) to beg for help.
As the saying goes, "A fool and his money are easily parted"
Re; Jan Hargreaves
There is a big difference between the services of a credit card and a money transfer company - e.g. the reliance on bank accounts and the thereof gained verifiability of credit status and security of payment. Without these measures, the way to ensure a similar security would be by escrow, but for some reason these cheapskates prefer the cheaper and less secure option - because they naturally trust their friend.
Why anyone would trust an online merchant is however beyond me...
She's locked out of Facebook, but her husband isn't, couldn't he somehow warn Facebook to temporarily freeze her account and look into it. And how did an international criminal gang get her details whilst she was on holiday? (and by international criminal gang I mean bunch of kids watching her type her details in over her shoulder - going into her account and changing the password).
Maybe Facebook should have a big red button on their sign-in page, saying, 'help, cannot sign in, something is wrong with my account' which could alert them to any shady goings on.
And I'm pretty sure any legal entity in the UK, be it police or customs, wouldn't ask for money to be wired via Western Union, maybe if she was in Botswana or Australia or somewhere. /jk