Watch out: Facebook chat scam

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I was a camp counselor for eight summers (five at a YMCA of Greater Cincinnati day camp and three summers at Kennolyn Camps in Soquel, California – near Santa Cruz).

Don’t hear too much from former campers these days. My last summer as a counselor was 1999. But, as any former counselor can tell you, those relationships you make often become lifetime friendships. Even the folks you don’t hear from that often, if they called and were in trouble, dropping everything to help them would not be unusual. It’s just that kind of experience.

So, this morning when supposedly one of my former campers, Kathleen, had an emergency in London – she had been mugged with a gun and nearly raped in the Old Kent part of London – I was a very concerned.  Here’s the chat:

Kathleen

hey Joe

how are you doing?

are you there?

are you there?
9:01amJoe

hey
9:04amKathleen

how are you doing?

are you there Joe?
9:04amJoe

I’m good. You?
9:04amKathleen

not too good right now
9:05amJoe

what is wrong?
9:05amKathleen

i am stranded in London
9:05amJoe

geez. how did that happen?
9:05amKathleen

i was mugged

cash,credit card and phone were stolen
9:06amJoe

oh crap. that’s horrible. I’m sorry.

contacted the embassy, I assume?
9:06amKathleen

i have reported to the police

the embassy is far away from where i am so getting there will be a bit difficult for me

and i thank god that i still have my life
9:06amJoe

oh,wow

yeah, that is true.
9:07amKathleen

a gun was pointed at me

it was scary
9:07amJoe

but don’t you have to contact the embassy to get a temporary passprt or whatever?
9:07amKathleen

i almost fainted
9:07amJoe

I had that happen to me last year in downtown Cincinnati
9:07amKathleen

they slapped me and even tried raping me
9:07amJoe

oh my god, kathleen

that’s is awful. I’m so sorry.

when did this happen
9:08amKathleen

i still have my passport because i left it in the hotel i stay

yesterday
9:08amJoe

that is good
9:08amKathleen

i am leaving here today

my staying here is already due
9:08amJoe

wow. well, i’m glad you got out with your life and still have your passport

what part of london were you in when you were mugged?
9:09amKathleen

Old Kent

i thanks go for everything

This is where I started to realize things might not be what I thought they were:

but i have a little problem right now
9:11amKathleen

i need your assistant right now
9:11amJoe

what do you need?
9:12amKathleen

are you there?
9:12amJoe

yes
9:13amKathleen

i need some money from you and i promise to pay you back as soon as i return back to the state
9:13amJoe

how much?
9:13amKathleen

$720
9:14amJoe

tell me how we know each other
9:15amKathleen

hun hun

could`nt remember exactly
9:15amJoe

gotcha!

very creative of you
9:16amKathleen

how do you mean?
9:17amJoe

where did you go to summer camp as a child?
9:18amJoe

Incorrect!
9:19amKathleen

What?
9:19amJoe

Where did you go to summer camp as a child?
9:20amKathleen

OK
9:20amJoe

yes?
9:22amJoe

Just tell me one thing about that camp where you went as a kid and the money is yours…
9:23amKathleen

four wind Westward
9:23amJoe

and what was that?
9:26amKathleen

can`t remember

Can you help me out please
9:27amJoe

Sure. What in thee hell is “Four Wind Westward?” I have never heard of that.
9:27amKathleen

i was the once

for summer camp with friends
9:28amJoe

What city was it in?
9:29amKathleen

why all this question?
9:30amJoe

Why not answer them? Seems fair for a mere $720
9:30amKathleen

question before you can help a daughter out?
9:31amJoe

a daughter?

Incorrect!
9:31amKathleen

what do youmean?
9:32amKathleen

how do you mean incorrect?
9:33amJoe

Answer any of the questions I have asked, sweets
9:33amKathleen

what is this you are putting in your heading?
9:33amJoe

Fascinating, eh?
9:33amKathleen

you`ve gone too far
9:34amJoe

You aren’t English, are you?
9:34amKathleen

bye
9:34amJoe

ha ha!

gotcha gotcha gotcha!
9:34amKathleen

Fuck you
9:34amJoe

gotcha gotcha gotcha!

Good luck in your scam! Re-tweet! RE-tweet!

So, I stayed on and had a little fun with the sucker… I post this in hopes that it won’t go too far with someone else and someone actually sends money to a crook – on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, through e-mail. Anything. It doesn’t matter.

Be careful online – especially if anyone starts chatting you and then immediately asks for money. Be careful if anyone asks for passwords, usernames or personal information. Likely a scam.

Then, do that person whose account was hacked a favor (and everyone else who may fall victim to the scam) – and use a different means to contact that person and let them know what happened. And do it immediately. Then, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center, or IC3.

3 Replies to “Watch out: Facebook chat scam”

  1. Wow. I’ve heard of this in gmail chat, but not facebook. I guess the protocols are more or less the same; it only takes cracking into someone’s account, right?

    Oh–and not “likely” a scam–“definitely” a scam.

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